Shipments abroad advanced 43.5 percent from a year earlier, the Finance Ministry said today in Tokyo. Accelerating growth in developing Asia is prompting companies including Mitsubishi Electric Corp. to expand abroad and helping sustain what the International Monetary Fund terms a tentative” Japanese recovery.
Japan posted a trade surplus of 948.9 billion yen ($10.2 billion) in March, narrower than the median prediction for a 1.02 trillion yen gap, the Finance Ministry said. Imports rose 20.7 percent.
The improvement in overseas shipments last month was partly due to a favorable year-on-year comparison. In March 2009, shipments abroad tumbled 45.5 percent as global trade froze in the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in the previous September.
The value of shipments abroad totaled 6 trillion yen last month, lower than their peak of 7.7 trillion yen in March 2008. From a month earlier, March exports were unchanged on a seasonally adjusted basis, today’s report showed.
Shipments to the U.S. grew 29.5 percent in March from a year earlier, while sales to Europe increased 26.7 percent, the ministry said. Exports to Asia advanced 52.9 percent, with those to China climbing 47.7 percent.
Japanese companies are tapping Asia’s accelerating growth. Mitsubishi Electric wants to boost revenue from products such as factory automation and power plant gear in fast-growing economies including China and India to 40 percent of sales from 34 percent, President Kenichiro Yamanishi said this month.