Tue, Nov 21, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Japan exports climb on surging demand

ELEVATED EXPORTS:Japan is experiencing a moderate recovery due to an export climate index that remains elevated. The country’s surplus with the US jumped 11 percent


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a question-and-answer session at the parliament’s lower house in Tokyo yesterday.

Photo: AP

Japan’s exports grew 14 percent in October from a year earlier on strong demand for vehicles, electronics and machinery.

However, customs data released yesterday showed even faster growth in imports of oil, gas and coal that caused the trade surplus to fall more than 40 percent from the year before.

As China recovers momentum following a slowdown, demand from the region’s biggest economy is helping to breathe fresh life into its neighbors’ economies.

Exports are helping to drive a moderate recovery in Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, as its factories struggle to keep up with demand for cars, electronic components and manufacturing equipment.

At the same time, Japan’s imports have risen thanks to higher costs for crude oil and other commodities: surging 19 percent in October from the same month a year earlier to ¥6.41 trillion (US$57.2 billion) versus exports of ¥6.7 trillion.

The resulting surplus of ¥285.4 billion compared with a ¥481.2 billion surplus a year earlier and ¥667.7 billion in September.

China displaced the US as Japan’s biggest export market in October, as shipments to Asia’s biggest economy jumped 26 percent to ¥1.35 trillion. Its imports from China rose 14 percent to ¥1.62 trillion.

Japan’s surplus with the US jumped 11 percent to ¥644.7 billion on exports of ¥1.28 trillion, led by chemicals and machinery. Imports from the US climbed 3.1 percent to ¥637 billion, with the biggest growth in imports of fish, soybeans, coal, liquid petroleum gas and iron ore.

Imports of crude oil, gas, coal and other fuels surged 37.5 percent from a year earlier to ¥1.24 trillion. Rising prices and the weakening of the Japanese yen over the past year contributed to that increase.

“Looking ahead, the export climate index remains elevated and suggests that export growth will continue at a similar pace as the 6.4 percent year-on-year increase recorded last quarter,” Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics said in a commentary.

However, the economies of Japan’s major trading partners are likely to slow in the next year, he said. “We therefore expect real export growth to slow from 6 percent year-on-year this year to 3 percent next year.”

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