Japan Trade Surplus Rises Sharply On Exports
The trade surplus in Japan widened 361.6 percent year-on-year to JPY 641.4 billion in December of 2016, beating market expectations of a JPY 270 billion surplus. Exports jumped 5.4 percent, the first annual rise in fifteen months amid improving global demand and a surge in sales to China while imports slumped at a faster-than-expected 2.6 percent.
Exports increased to JPY 6679 billion, boosted by sales of machinery (+8.9 percent), namely power generating machines (+6.5 percent); electrical machinery (+9.2 percent), namely semiconductors (+14.9 percent), IC (+22.5 percent), electrical apparatus (+17.9 percent) and electrical power machinery (+15.3 percent); and others (+11.7 percent) including scientific and optical instruments (+2.7 percent). Sales to China went up 12.5 percent to a record high and those to the United States increased 1.3 percent.
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Imports declined to JPY 6037.6 billion, mainly due to lower purchases of LNG (-25.5 percent), chemicals (-8.1 percent) and others (-11.2 percent), namely clothing and accessories (-10.8 percent). Imports from China declined 5 percent and those from the Western Europe fell 3 percent while purchases from the United States rose 9.6 percent.
Considering full 2016, exports went down 7.4 percent, the first decline since 2012 and imports shrank 15.9 percent. The trade balance swung to a JPY 4074 billion surplus from a JPY 2791 billion deficit in 2015.