MNI BRIEF: Japan's Feb Exports Accelerate; Auto Exports Rise
February exports accelerated due to rising automobile exports but the Bank of Japan will likely maintain the view that exports have been more or less flat as global growth slows.
Japan's exports rose 6.5% y/y in February for the 24th straight rise following a 3.5% rise in January, and imports rose 8.3% y/y for the 25th straight gain following a 17.8% increase in January, data released on Thursday by the Ministry of Finance showed. Japan posted a trade deficit of JPY897.7 billion due to high resource prices for the 19th straight deficit following a deficit of JPY3.5 trillion in January.
Exports of automobiles rose 23.5% y/y in February, accelerating from 14.9% growth in January, with automobile makers reducing their production as the semiconductor shortage continued.
Exports to China, Japan's largest trading partner, fell 10.9% in February for the third straight drop following a 17.1% fall in January. Exports of automobiles fell 34.2% in February, slowing from 52.1% decrease in January, showing its recovery after the relaxation of Covid restrictions.
Japan’s export data fluctuates sharply in the first quarter due to the impact of Chinese New Year, making it difficult for BOJ officials to judge its trend.
Exports to the U.S. rose 14.9% y/y in February for the 17th straight rise following a 10.2% rise in January. Exports of automobiles to the U.S. rose 13.7% vs. a drop of 1.7%.