Japan's imports and exports surge
21 April 2017
Japanese exports rose 12% in March, the fastest rate in more than two years, while imports jumped nearly 16%, the biggest gain in more than three years.
Trade data from Japan released earlier this week suggests the relatively strong foreign demand is a bright spot for the Japanese economy and will aid efforts to generate a sustainable recovery.
While domestic demand has remained lacklustre, Japan's production and exports are rising on the back of a global rebound in manufacturing. Japan posted its first trade surplus in six years in 2016 thanks to a rebound in exports late in the year.
Vehicle exports rose 4%, while exports of electrical machinery were up 11%. Exports of other machinery jumped 14%.
Exports to the US increased 3.5% year-on-year and shipments to China, Japan's largest trading partner, grew 16.4%. However, uncertainties over US policy under US President Donald Trump and over China's recovery persist.
Exports to the EU rose 1.4% to 800.932 billion yen.
Resource-scarce Japan relies on imports of oil and gas, mostly from the Middle East, to light its cities and power its factories. Higher oil prices boosted imports from Middle Eastern countries by more than 45%, including a 75% jump in imports from Saudi Arabia.
In fact, prices accounted for a large share, 12.5% year-on-year, of the increase in imports.
Imports from the US climbed 16.3% year on year to 724.976 billion yen, and imports from the EU gained 7.1% to 732.504 billion yen.