The Strategist

Japan records foreign trade balance deficit for the first time in three years

01/23/2019 - 11:47

Volume of Japanese exports in December 2018 declined at a maximum rate in more than two years due to a sharp drop in demand from China.

Against this background, last year Japan recorded a deficit in the balance of foreign trade for the first time in three years.

The volume of exports from the country in December fell by 3.8%, according to data from the Ministry of Finance. The decline was the most significant since October 2016. Experts interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, on average, predicted a 1.9% drop in exports from Japan in December.

Exports to China fell by 7% due to falling demand for Japanese equipment for production of semiconductors, as well as smartphones parts. The Ministry of Finance of Japan notes that such export dynamics can partly be explained by a significant increase in demand in China a year earlier.

Earlier this week, Japanese Nidec Corp., a manufacturer of electronic components and supplier of Apple Inc., lowered its earnings and revenue forecasts for the current fiscal year, noting the negative effects of the US-China trade dispute.

Exports to the US in December rose by 1.6%, to Europe - by 3.9%, according to a report by the Japanese Ministry of Finance.

The volume of Japanese imports in December rose by 1.9%, while experts expected an increase of 4%.

In November, Japanese exports increased by 0.1%, imports - by 12.5%.

Japan’s trade balance deficit in December amounted to 55.3 billion yen, for the whole of 2018 - 1.2 trillion yen ($ 11 billion).

For the first time in two years, the deficit of Japan’s trade balance with the United States declined by 8.1% against the background of reduced deliveries of automobiles and auto parts to the American market, while imports of aircraft and oil from the United States increased.