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Bank of Japan officials are heartened by a rise in the real export index in the second quarter, which underpinned the BOJ view that goods exports are expected to continue increasing firmly as overseas economies are likely to continue growing, MNI understands.

The real export index rose 0.5% m/m in June calculated by the BOJ based on the trade data for the first rise in two months following -0.2% in May, and the index rose 3.5% q/q in the fourth straight quarterly rise following +1.8% in the first quarter.

The BOJ expects exports to continue increasing firmly overall, led by those of capital goods and IT-related goods, supported by steady expansion in digital-related demand and the recovery in capital investment, both on a global basis.

"This is also expected to be supported by a mitigation of downward pressure on exports of automobile-related goods, which stems from the effects of the semiconductor shortage," according to the BOJ latest view on exports.

TRADE PERFORMANCE

Exports rose 48.6% y/y in June for the fourth straight rise following +49.6% in May and imports rose 32.7% y/y for the fifth straight rise following +27.9% in May.

June's export gain was caused by higher exports of automobiles, auto parts and steel.

Japan posted a trade surplus of JPY383.2 billion for the first surplus in two months following a deficit of JPY189.4 billion in May.

In June, exports of automobiles posted the fourth straight rise, up 102.8% following +135.5% in May and exports of auto parts rose 114.8% in June following +139.2% in May and exports of chip-making equipment rose 32.7% in June following from +24.0% in May.

The rise of exports of automobiles was mainly due to the base effects of comparing the rate with the previous year, when exports fell substantially due to the impact of Covid-19.

Exports of semiconductors rose 24.7% y/y in June following +12.7% in May.

TRADE PATTERNS

Exports of machinery for capital investment overseas rose 42.0% y/y in June following +40.5% in May, showing demand for capital investment overseas remained firm.

Exports to China, Japan's largest trading partner, rose 27.7% y/y in June for the 12th straight rise following +23.6% in May, thanks to strong demand for chip-making equipment, although exports of automobiles slowed.

Exports of chip-making equipment to China rose 85.0% (vs. +63.9% in May) y/y in June and exports of automobiles rose 17.6% (vs. +42.9% in May) in June.

Exports to the U.S. surged 85.5% in June for the fourth straight rise following +87.9% in May. Exports of automobiles to the U.S. rose 144.3% as makers had increased their inventories following +244.6% in May.