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MNI POLICY:Japan Q1 Real Export Index In Line With BOJ Outlook

TOKYO (MNI)

Japan's real export index rose in Q1, underlining the Bank of Japan's view that that exports have picked up.

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Japan's real export index rose in Q1, underlining the Bank of Japan's view that that exports have picked up and are likely to continue increasing for a wider range of goods.

Officials at the central bank were upbeat on the better data in recent months but there is some concern that overseas sales could stall in coming months due to supply-side restrictions caused by the global shortage of semiconductors.

Boosted by the pick-up in global trade, the real export index rose 1.9% q/q in Q1, marking a third straight quarterly gain after rising 10.4% in Q4, data released by the BOJ Monday showed.

The March real export index rose 3.1% m/m after a 3.3% decline in February, helped by strong demand for automobiles, chip-making equipment, and capital goods.

Data released Monday showed exports rose 16.1% y/y, the biggest rise since November 2017, and imports rose 5.7% y/y for a second straight rise.

Japan posted a surplus of JPY663.7 billion, up 8,756.6% from a year earlier.

CHINA SALES RISE

March exports of automobiles rose for a first time in five months, up 11.2% following a 12.9% decline in February. Exports of chip-making equipment rose 18.1% in March, accelerating from +11.7% in February.

Exports of machinery for capital investment overseas rose 18.1% y/y in March, reversing from -1.4% in February, indicating demand for capital investment overseas remained firm.

Exports to China, Japan's largest trading partner, surged 37.2% y/y in March for the ninth straight rise, accelerating from +3.4% in February, thanks to strong demand for chip-making equipment, cars and capital goods.

Exports of machinery to China rose 31.1% y/y in March and exports of chip-making equipment rose 33.8% in March and exports of automobiles rose 35.7% in March. Exports to the U.S. rose 4.9% in March for the first rise in five months following a 14.0% fall in February. Exports of automobiles to the U.S. rose 8.3% and exports of construction machines rose 25.6% in March.