Ja­pan swings back to trade sur­plus

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

JA­PAN swung to a big­ger-thanex­pected trade sur­plus in Septem­ber, as tum­bling im­ports off­set lack­lus­tre ship­ments over­seas, of­fi­cial data showed yes­ter­day.

The value of Ja­pan’s ex­ports fell again, with ve­hi­cles and steel among the worst-hit sec­tors, as a stronger yen clouds the coun­try’s trade pic­ture. But im­ports shrank more than 16 per­cent in value, with crude oil and gas down sig­nif­i­cantly due to lower com­mod­ity prices, ac­cord­ing to the fi­nance min­istry.

That left a trade sur­plus of 498.3 bil­lion yen (US$4.8 bil­lion), big­ger than the mar­ket fore­cast of 372.9 bil­lion yen.

It also re­versed a sur­prise trade deficit in Au­gust. An­a­lysts pointed out that the vol­ume of Ja­pan’s ex­ports ac­tu­ally grew last month.

“The strong rise in ex­port vol­umes un­der­lines that Ja­pan’s man­u­fac­tur­ing is show­ing re­silience as ex­ter­nal de­mand re­mains weak,” said Mar­cel Thieliant at re­search house Cap­i­tal Eco­nom­ics.

But he added that Ja­pan’s trade sur­plus will likely nar­row in com­ing months.

“The price of crude oil has re­bounded in re­cent months, and we ex­pect Brent prices to climb to $60 by the end of next year ... The yen has weak­ened against the dol­lar and we ex­pect it to de­pre­ci­ate fur­ther, which should lift im­port prices.”

Tokyo has been strug­gling to kick­start spend­ing and lift prices in a bid to con­quer the de­fla­tion that has weighed on the econ­omy in re­cent years.

The econ­omy grew just 0.2pc in April-June.

Tokyo in July an­nounced a whop­ping 28 tril­lion yen pack­age aimed at kick­start­ing growth, af­ter Bri­tain’s June vote to quit the Euro­pean Union sent fi­nan­cial mar­kets into a tail­spin and sparked a yen rally. The surge in the cur­rency has taken a bite out of prof­its at firms that do busi­ness over­seas. –

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