Japan export growth pointing to a continued recovery

Japan’s exports grew in January for a 14th straight month led by brisk shipments of China-bound hybrid cars as well as electronics parts, a sign solid global demand for Japanese goods continued to underpin growth inside earth’s third largest economy.

Ministry of Finance (MOF) data showed on Monday in which exports grew 12.2 percent in January through a year earlier, following a 9.3 percent year-on-year gain inside previous month. The result
handily beat a 10.3 percent increase expected by economists in a Reuters poll.

Economists expect exports will continue to expand inside coming months, led by demand for the semiconductor-related products in which boosted exports in 2017.

Analysts are also wary about a rising yen as well as the U.S. stance towards protectionism ahead of the mid-term elections later This specific year, as well as potential effects on Japan’s exports of cars as well as some other products.

A strong yen erodes profits at Japanese manufacturers as well as could hurt the otherwise buoyant economy, which posted an eighth straight quarter of growth in October-December.

In a sign the yen’s strength has undermined business sentiment, confidence among Japanese manufacturers worsened significantly in February through January’s strong reading, the Reuters Tankan poll showed on Monday.

Monday’s trade data showed exports to China, Japan’s biggest trading partner, jumped 30.8 percent year-on-year in January led by semiconductor production equipment, car engines as well as hybrid cars.

Shipments to Asia as a whole, which account for more than half of Japan’s exports, grew 16.0 percent inside year to January.

U.S.-bound shipments rose 1.2 percent inside year to January, led by steel, batteries as well as medicines, while car shipments declined 3.9 percent. The tiny rise in U.S.-bound exports followed a 3.0 percent gain inside previous month.

Japan’s trade surplus with the United States fell an annual 12.3 percent in January to 349.6 billion yen, a second declining month.

Overall imports rose 7.9 percent inside year to January, versus the median estimate of an 8.3 percent increase.

The trade balance came to a deficit of 943.4 billion yen ($8.87 billion), versus the median estimate of a 1 trillion yen deficit. the idea marked the first trade deficit in eight months.

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