Japan posts robust export-import growth in March 2017

Japan posts robust export-import growth in March 2017

When domestic economy not in favour, foreign trade saves the day

The Dollar Business Bureau

Overriding its tapering domestic economy, Japan's foreign trade in the month of March boosted the overall performance of the world's third largest economy. The Japanese administration announced that exports grew more than the expected 12% while imports jumped 16% year on year during March 2017.

A revival of stability in Chinese economy supplemented by a gradually normalising global demand has given Japan much reason to cheer. A trade surplus of $5.6 billion was registered in the month of March as exports grossed $66 billion approximately while imports rose to about $60 billion.

Japanese exports to China reached $11 billion, showing a whopping 16.4% growth from the same month in the previous year, although the double digit growth is mostly because of a one-month shift in the Lunar New Year holiday.

Amid Trump's rage targeted at countries holding huge trade surpluses with USA, Japan's exports to America shot to $12 billion, rising by 3.5%. Imports from USA also jumped 16.3% to $6.7 billion, creating a surplus of $5.8 billion.

Even after Japan became one of the victim countries in Trump's recent executive order aimed at pinning down reasons for huge trade deficits with as many as 16 nations, Vice President Mike Pence's recent diplomatic visit to Japan didn't reflect much on the issue.

Just like China and India, Japan also relies heavily on oil imports from Middle Eastern countries to power its mammoth industries. Rise in global oil prices led to a 45% increase in imports from Middle-East and a 75% hike in value of imports from Saudi Arabia during the past month.

Japan's first trade surplus since the global financial crisis (2010) was posted in 2016, showing a rebound in global trade scenario but Trump's unpredictable policy shifts and China's slowdown still remain impediments in Japan's export-fueled growth. Meanwhile, the domestic economy is riddled with low wage-growth and lack of corporate investment.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Apr 20, 2017 12:00 IST