Japan’s Exports Grow at Fastest Pace in 30 Years

Japan’s exports climbed at the fastest pace in 30 years in February as global trade recovered from the worst postwar recession, increasing prospects for a sustained economic rebound in the nation.
TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg 3/24/2010 12:29:52 AM

Shipments abroad increased 45.3 percent from a year earlier, helping the trade surplus expand the most since 1982, the Finance Ministry said.

Yet, at 5.1 trillion yen ($57 billion), the value of exports remains about a third lower than the March 2008 peak of 7.7 trillion yen.

Demand for Japanese goods rose to all regions for the first time since August 2007, the report showed, fueling sales for companies from Komatsu Ltd. to Mitsubishi Electric Corp. The trade revival has spurred factory production for 11 months.

The surge was partly due to a favorable year-on-year comparison. In February 2009, shipments abroad tumbled a record 49.4 percent as global trade froze following the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. five months earlier. Exports fell a seasonally adjusted 1.7 percent from January.

Last month’s rebound was driven by Asia, especially China, though the pace of the gains moderated as the Lunar New Year holiday took place in February this year and January in 2009.

Shipments to Asia advanced 55.7 percent in February from a year earlier, compared with a 68.1 percent gain the previous month. Exports to China, Japan’s biggest overseas market, climbed 47.7 percent after rising 79.9 percent in January.

Shipments to US surged 50.4 percent in February, the most since May 1984, the ministry said. Sales to Europe rose 19.7 percent, the third consecutive increase.

Imports climbed 29.5 percent, the fastest pace in three years. The trade surplus swelled to 651 billion yen, nine times bigger than the gap a year ago.

Japan’s Exports Grow at Fastest Pace in 30 Years