Japan Trade Balance Swings to Surplus in July

Japan recorded a 513.5 JPY billion surplus in July of 2016, compared to a 261.39 JPY billion deficit a year earlier and beating market consensus of a 283.7 JPY billion surplus, as exports fell less than imports
Ministry of Finance l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com 8/18/2016 2:04:03 AM
Year-on-year, sales dropped by 14.0 percent to 5,728.41 JPY billion, following a 7.4 percent fall in June and in line with estimates. It was the 10th consecutive month of decline and the fastest fall since October 2009, as sales to most of the country's main export partners declined. Those to China decreased by 12.7 percent, followed by South Korea (-9.2 percent), Singapore (-9.7 percent), Hong Kong (-22.6 percent), Thailand (-20.5 percent), Indonesia (-8.3 percent) and India (-20.9 percent). Sales to the US decreased by 11.8 percent, the EU countries (-6.5 percent), Western Europe (-5.4 percent), the Middle East (-30.8 percent) and South Africa (-33.1 percent). In contrast, exports were higher by 14.2 percent to Russia.

By product, shipments decreased for all categories: foodstuff (-3.4 percent), raw materials (-24.4 percent), mineral fuels (-40.6 percent), chemicals (-11.7 percent, mainly due to organic chemicals: -23.6 percent and plastic materials: -10.9 percent), manufactured goods (-19.3 percent), machinery (-9.8 percent, mostly driven by power generating machine: -15.9 percent, computers and units: -14.7 percent), parts of computers: -19.6 percent and metalworking machinery: -23.7 percent), electrical machinery (-13.4 percent, contributed by semiconductors: -11.4 percent, visual apparatus: -32.4 percent, audio apparatus: -11.8 percent, parts of audio visual apparatus: -25.0 percent and electrical power machinery:-11.4 percent), transport equipment (-15.4 percent) and others (-10.8 percent).

Imports fell 24.7 percent to 5,214.90 JPY billion in July, compared to a 18.8 percent decrease in  a month earlier while market expected a 20.6 percent drop. It was the 19th straight month of decline as purchases from most of the country's trading partners fell. Imports from China dropped by 21.7 percent, followed by Hong Kong  (-51.8 percent), South Korea (-20.5 percent), Thailand (-22.7 percent), Malaysia (-38.9 percent) and Indonesia (-26.7 percent). Those from the US decreased by 15.2 percent, Western Europe (-17.1 percent), Russia (-43.2 percent), the EU countries (-15.7 percent), the Middle East (-41.3 percent), Australia (-28.3 percent) and South Africa (-44.7 percent).

Purchases declined for most categories, including foodstuff (-15.0 percent), raw materials (-27.6 percent, mainly due to wood: -5.4 percent, ore of nonferrous: -31.0 percent and iron ore and concentrates: -35.6 percent), mineral fuels (-41.9 percent, largely due to petroleum: -42.6 percent, petroleum products: -45.2 percent, LNG: - 43.2 percent: LPG -35.0 percent and coal: -34.8 percent),  chemicals (-21.1 percent), manufactured goods (-23.7 percent), machinery (-21.3 percent), electrical machinery (-22.9 percent) and others (-14.8 percent). In contrast, imports grew by 3.4 percent for transport equipment, mainly due to a 21.1 percent increase in motor vehicles.

 In June 2016, the country posted a 692.83 JPY billion trade surplus. 

Japan Trade Balance Swings to Surplus in July