Japan Posts 1st Trade Deficit in 3 Months in August


Japan recorded a 18.71 JPY billion deficit in August of 2016, compared to a 567.54 JPY billion gap a year earlier and missing market consensus of a 202.30 JPY billion surplus. It was the first trade deficit since May as exports fell less than imports.

Year-on-year, outbound shipments dropped by 9.6 percent to 5,316.35 JPY billion, following a 14.0 percent fall in July while market expected a 4.8 percent decline. It was the eleventh straight month of decline as sales to most of the country's main export partners declined. Those to China decreased by 8.9 percent, followed by Hong Kong (-21.4 percent), Taiwan (-4.5 percent), South Korea (-1.8 percent), Singapore (-13.5 percent), Thailand (-12.3 percent), Indonesia (-13.8 percent), Vietnam (-8.9 percent) and India (-10.0 percent). Sales to the US decreased by 14.5 percent, the EU countries (-0.7 percent), the Middle East (-14.8 percent) and South Africa (-26.4 percent). In contrast, exports rose to Western Europe (+ 0.9 percent) and Russia (+5.7 percent).

By product, shipments decreased for all categories: foodstuff (-6.9 percent), raw materials (-23.3 percent), mineral fuels (-26.9 percent), chemicals (-12.2 percent, mainly due to organic chemicals: -26.4 percent and plastic materials: -9.8 percent), manufactured goods (-17.0 percent), machinery (-6.1 percent, mostly driven by power generating machine: -4.8 percent, computers and units: -9.7 percent), parts of computers: -24.2 percent and metalworking machinery: -18.8 percent), electrical machinery (-8.5 percent, contributed by semiconductors: -12.4 percent, visual apparatus: -32.4 percent, audio apparatus: -3.6 percent, parts of audio visual apparatus: -16.3 percent and electrical power machinery:-15.7 percent), transport equipment (-8.4 percent) and others (-4.8 percent).

Imports fell 17.3 percent to 5,335.06 JPY billion in August, compared to a 24.7 percent decrease in a month earlier while market expected a 17.8 percent drop. It was the twentieth consecutive month of decline as purchases from most of the country's trading partners decreased. Imports from China dropped by 15.4 percent, followed by Hong Kong  (-20.8 percent), Taiwan (-14.9 percent), South Korea (-13.7 percent), Thailand (-13.3 percent), Malaysia (-26.7 percent), Indonesia (-7.9 percent) and India (-19.3 percent). Those from the US decreased by 9.5 percent, Western Europe (-11.6 percent), Russia (-33.6 percent), the EU countries (-12.4 percent), the Middle East (-29.5 percent) and South Africa (-11.8 percent).

Purchases declined for all categories: foodstuff (-8.2 percent), raw materials (-20.0 percent, mainly due to wood: -15.9 percent, ore of nonferrous: -20.0 percent and iron ore and concentrates: -24.4 percent), mineral fuels (-34.8 percent, largely due to petroleum: -35.7 percent, petroleum products: -40.5 percent, LNG: -34.6 percent: LPG -13.8 percent and coal: -32.1 percent),  chemicals (-11.7 percent), manufactured goods (-11.2 percent), machinery (-14.4 percent), electrical machinery (-10.1 percent), transport equipment (-10.2 percent, due to motor vehicles: -6.3 percent, part of motor vehicles: -6.4 percent and aircraft: -12.8 percent) and others (-11.0 percent).

In July 2016, the country posted a 513.50 JPY billion trade surplus. 

Ministry of Finance l Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com
9/21/2016 12:46:05 AM