Japan Real Time Charts and Data

Edward Hugh is only able to update this blog from time to time, but he does run a lively Twitter account with plenty of Japan related comment. He also maintains a collection of constantly updated Japan data charts with short updates on a Storify dedicated page Is Japan Once More Back in Deflation?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Japan Exports April 2008

Japan's year on year rate of export growth rebounded slightly in April as shipments to Asia and emerging markets helped the nation weather problems caused by the U.S. slowdown and a slowing expansion in Western Europe.

Exports, the main driver of Japanese growth (accounting for more than half of last quarter's expansion), rose 4 percent from a year earlier after climbing 2.3 percent in March, the Finance Ministry said today in Tokyo. But this pace of expansion is still considerably down on the roughly 8% average increase achieved over the four months November to February.

Shipments to the U.S. fell for an eighth consecutive month, and were down 9.1 percent in April from a year earlier. Export growth to China accelerated again on an annual basis, to 14.1 percent growth in April, up from 3.1 percent in March. Shipments to Asia, where Japan sends about half its exports, rose 7.2 percent after gaining 1.8 percent a month earlier, while those to Europe have now slowed noticeably, climbing only 1.3 percent year on year in April.

Imports were up 11.9 percent from a year earlier as oil prices surged to a record, narrowing the trade surplus by 46.3 percent to 485 billion yen ($4.7 billion). Year on year increases in the surplus are now down in the low single digits (4% y-o-y in April, 2.3% y-o-y in March) and this will be noticed, since it is the growth in the net difference between exports and imports which matters for GDP growth.

Growth to a fair number of newly emerging economies continues to be strong, with Vietnam (up 54.1% y-o-y), India (up 36.8% y-o-y), Indonesia (up 27.5% y-o-y), Brazil (up 31.7% y-o-y), Chile (up 80.5% y-o-y) and Russia (up 58.5% y-o-y) all making strong showings.

For some insight into how all this is working out in the emerging markets context see Claus's excellent post this week: Brazil's Economy - Not Emerging Anymore?