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MNI BRIEF: Japan's Jan Exports Up For 23rd Month As Autos Slow

(MNI) Tokyo

January exports continued to support the Bank of Japan's view of a rising trend as supply-side constraints ease, but banks officials are worried about the impact of the slowing global economy in the first quarter of 2023.

Bank officials expect the slowing U.S. economy - caused by Federal Reserve rate hikes - to become apparent this year, slowing an increase in Japan’s exports and production. However, bank officials don’t expect a big economic downturn.

Japan's exports rose 3.5% y/y in January for the 23rd straight rise following an 11.5% rise in December, while imports rose 17.8% y/y for the 24th straight gain following a 20.6% increase in December, data released on Thursday by the Ministry of Finance showed. Japan posted a trade deficit of JPY3.5 trillion in the wake of high resource prices, marking the 18th straight deficit following a deficit of JPY1.45 trillion in December.

Exports of automobiles rose 14.9% y/y in January, slowing from a 17.9% rise in December, showing automobile makers reduced their production as the semiconductor shortage continued.

Exports to China, Japan's largest trading partner, fell 17.1% in January for the second straight drop following a 6.2% decline in December. Exports of automobiles fell 52.1% in January following a 50.2% fall in December, reflecting the slower economy due to the spread of Covid-19.

Exports to the U.S. rose 10.2% in January for the 16th straight rise following a 16.9% rise in December. Exports of automobiles to the U.S. fell 1.7% vs. a gain of 16.2%.

MNI Tokyo Bureau | +81 90-2175-0040 |
MNI Tokyo Bureau | +81 90-2175-0040 |

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