Japan's Exports Surge 10% in December on Strong Auto Demand

tendata blogTrade Trends News

ten data blog25-01-2024

japan export,japan exports,japan auto export

Japanese exports rose nearly 10 percent year-on-year in December, thanks to a recovery in trade with China and strong demand for cars, machinery and computer chips.

Imports fell nearly 7 percent and trade unexpectedly rose by 62 billion yen ($410 million), according to preliminary customs data released Wednesday.

The weaker yen has helped exporting manufacturers such as Toyota, Honda and Sony, although it has increased the cost of importing key commodities such as oil and natural gas needed to fuel the world's third-largest economy.

Lower oil prices helped ease the burden on energy imports, which fell 18% year-on-year in December.

A recovery in Chinese demand led to a 10% increase in exports, while imports from China were flat.

Another driver was a surge in tourist arrivals, which are counted as exports in trade statistics.

Gabriel Ng of Capital Macro said in a report that the improvement later in the year "means that overall net exports should make a significant contribution to GDP growth in the fourth quarter". But he added, "Looking ahead, we expect export growth to be subdued this year."

Preliminary factory managers' survey data released Wednesday also showed weakness in export manufacturing, with "new export orders" falling to 46.0 from 46.4, up from 100, with 50 marking the line between expansion and contraction.

Japan's exports to the largest single export market of the United States in December rose 20% year-on-year, while imports of U.S. goods fell 7%.

Shipments of automobiles rose 16% on a per-unit basis to 1.47 million units and more than 35% on a dollar basis. Power generation equipment, construction machinery, and semiconductors also showed strong growth.

For the year as a whole, Japan's exports rose 3% to ¥100.9 trillion ($680 billion), while imports fell 7% to ¥110.2 trillion ($740 billion). The trade deficit was 9.2 trillion yen ($62 billion), down sharply from 20.3 trillion yen in 2022.

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