Japan Trade Balance Swings to Defict in October

Japan recorded a trade deficit of JPY 449 billion in October 2018 compared to a JPY 278.6 billion surplus in the same month a year ago, much worse than market expectations of a JPY 70 billion gap. Imports jumped the most since 2014, as rising energy prices boosted oil imports while exports rebounded less than expected.

Imports jumped 19.9 percent year-on-year to JPY 7.69 trillion, much faster than a 7 percent rise in September and higher than market estimates of 14.5 percent. It is the biggest annual gain in imports since January of 2014 and the highest value since March of 2014. Purchases of mineral fuels soared 36.3 percent, driven by petroleum (33.7 percent), LNG (49.3 percent) and coal (14.3 percent). Also, imports increased for: electrical machinery (10.1 percent); machinery (28.1 percent); chemicals (24.2 percent); manufactured goods (20.1 percent); transport equipment (11.7 percent%) and others (16.7 percent). Among major trading partners, purchases went up mainly from China (16.1 percent); the US (34.3 percent);, Australia (35.2 percent); the EU (10 percent); Saudi Arabia (18.4 percent) and South Korea (22 percent).

Exports increased 8.2 percent year-on-year to JPY 7.24 trillion, missing market expectations of a 9 percent surge and after an upwardly revised 1.3 percent decrease in September. Higher shipments were recorded for: transport equipment (9 percent); machinery (7.7 percent); electrical machinery (8.2 percent); manufactured goods (9.2 percent); chemicals (13.5 percent) and others (1.4 percent). Among major trading partners, sales rose to China (9 percent); the US (11.6 percent); the EU (7.7 percent); South Korea (1.7 percent); and Taiwan (6.4 percent). 

The trade surplus with the US shrank 11 percent year-on-year to JPY 573.4 billion while the trade gap with China jumped 52.1 percent to JPY 406.2 billion. 

Considering January to October 2018, Japan recorded a trade gap of JPY 401 billion, compared to a surplus of JPY 2.4 trillion in the same period of 2017.

Japan Trade Balance Swings to Defict in October

Ministry of Finance l Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com
11/19/2018 12:18:06 PM