Japan's Exports Grow for Third Straight Month, Trade Deficit Falls to $2.5 Billion

tendata blogTrade Trends News

ten data blog21-03-2024

Japan's exports rose 7.8% in February as shipments of automobiles and electric motors continued to expand.

The country's trade deficit fell to 379 billion yen ($2.5 billion), the second consecutive monthly deficit.

Imports of food, medical products and computers grew, while imports of automobiles and power generation equipment fell. They rose a modest 0.5% from the previous year to total nearly 9 trillion yen ($60 billion).

The strong exports were good news a day after the Bank of Japan raised its key interest rate for the first time in 17 years, no longer setting it below zero. The central bank pledged to remain accommodative in its lending policy while assessing signs of economic growth.

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By region, Japan's exports to North America, Europe and the Middle East rose last month.

Imports were mixed, rising from places like India, China and Brazil, while imports from Australia slipped and were virtually unchanged in many regions.

Exports totaled 8.2 trillion yen ($55 billion) in February, the third consecutive monthly increase, according to a preliminary report from the Ministry of Finance.

One recent positive is the strong rebound in tourism, which is statistically counted as an export, and which recent data show is even higher than in the years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Japan restricted entry during the epidemic.

Despite the slowdown in the Japanese economy, exports have remained a relatively strong factor and hit an all-time high of just over 100 trillion yen ($670 billion) in 2023. But the cost of energy imports for resource-poor Japan has been soaring since 2022, although this has gradually declined.

Japan has slipped in the global rankings of economic size, falling behind Germany to become the world's fourth-largest economy by 2023.

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