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Japan’s exports grow at slowest pace since Feb 2021 despite setting record high for Apr

Japan’s exports grew by a modest 2.6% yoy to JPY 8288B in April. Although this represented the lowest growth in exports since February 2021, it still marked the largest export figure for April on record.

A closer examination of the data reveals a shift in trading dynamics. Exports to China fell by -2.9% yoy, marking the fifth consecutive month of decline. The decrease was driven by downturns in shipments of cars, car parts, and steel. Similarly, exports to Asia overall declined by -6.6% yoy, continuing a contraction trend for the fourth month in a row.

However, things looked rosier elsewhere. Exports to the US and EU showed robust growth, rising by 10.5% yoy and 11.7% yoy respectively. This uptick was led by a rebound in exports of cars and car parts, which have seen easing supply constraints.

Contrasting with export trends, imports fell by -2.3% yoy to JPY 8721B, the first annual decline witnessed in 27 months. This decrease was largely attributed to a slump in imports of crude oil and liquefied natural gas. Consequently, Japan recorded a trade deficit of JPY -432B for the 21st month running.

In seasonally adjusted term, the situation presents a slightly different picture. Exports rose by 2.5% mom to JPY 8259B, while imports inched up by 0.1% mom to JPY 9276B. In light of this, trade deficit narrowed to JPY -1017B.

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