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(M2) Gains Still Considered Corrective

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MNI (Singapore)
     TOKYO (MNI) - Ministry of Finance released its latest trade statistics
     - Japan exports rose 2.1% on year in March, weaker than the MNI median
forecast for a 5.3% rise. It was the 16th straight year-on-year rise and the
pace of increase has been slightly accelerating from +1.8% in February.
     - The March exports increase were led by higher shipments of automobiles,
chip-making equipment and metal working machinery. Exports to the U.S. and
European Union marked the 14th straight year-on-year gains, and those to Asia
and China posted the first y/y rise in two months.
     - Global financial markets remain volatile but Japanese officials see its
impact on global economy and demand being limited and they expect a pickup in
both exports and production to continue, which will lead a modest recovery in
domestic economy.
     - Imports fell 0.6% from a year earlier, weaker than the MNI median
forecast for a 8.5% rise. It was the first year-on-year drop in 15 months after
being posted 16.6% growth in February. The downturn was led by decreased
purchases of clothing, coal and fish and shellfish.
     - March trade balance came to a surplus of Y797.3 billion, compared with
the MNI median forecast for a Y440.2 billion surplus. It was the second straight
surplus after a surplus of Y2.6 billion in February and a surplus of Y603.5
billion in March 2017.
     - Japan posted the trade surplus of Y2.991 trillion in fiscal 2017, down
25.1% on year, for the second straight surplus following a surplus of Y3.994
trillion in fiscal 2016. Exports in fiscal 2017 rose 11.8% on year for the first
time in two years following a 7.4% fall in fiscal 2016. Imports in fiscal 2017
rose 14.0% on year for the first time in three years, following the decrease of
15.8% in fiscal 2016.
--MNI Tokyo Bureau; tel: +81 90-2175-0040; email:
--MNI Beijing Bureau; tel: +86 (10) 8532-5998; email:
[TOPICS: MAJDS$,M$A$$$,M$J$$$]

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