In January, exports grew 17 percent year-on-year to ¥6145 billion, its fastest in 14 months, supported by a weakened yen. Sales to Asia, which account for more than half of the country's total exports, surged 23 percent (11 percent a month earlier). Shipments to China increased by 21 percent, to Hong Kong by 55.7 percent, to Taiwan by 19 percent and to South Korea by 11.2 percent. Exports to the United States rose by 16.6 percent and to Western Europe by 8.2 percent.
By commodity, value of exports increased among all major categories: electrical machinery (23 percent), machinery (16.8 percent), manufactured goods (13 percent), chemicals (7.5 percent) and transport equipment (13.1 percent).
Imports declined by 9 percent year-on-year to ¥7322 billion as fuel price continue its slide. Shipments of mineral fuels decreased by 24.4 percent. While value of petroleum imports dropped by 40 percent, shipments of liquified natural gas increased by 6.5 percent.