Japan Oct exports rebound but Chinese demand slower amid U.S. trade row

19, Nov. 2018

TOKYO, NNA - Japanese exports rebounded in October on solid global demand for Japanese cars and semiconductors after a rare slip in September when typhoons delayed shipments, but demand from China appeared to be losing some steam amid the U.S. trade dispute, trade statistics released Monday by the Ministry of Finance showed.

Key points from the data:

* Japanese exports rose 8.2 percent on year in October, coming in weaker than the median economist forecast for a 9.0-percent rise. It followed the 1.3-percent drop in September. The 8.2-percent increase was the largest since +12.3 percent in January.

* The increase was due to higher shipments of motor vehicles, turbines and electronic parts including semiconductors.

* Demand from Asia led the growth. Exports to Asia rose 7.3 percent, the eighth straight year-on-year rise, and those to China climbed 9.0 percent, the rise in two months. But the pace of increase in exports to China decelerated from double-digit percentage gains seen earlier.

* Exports to the U.S. rebounded 11.6 percent in October, the first year-on-year rise in two months after slipping 0.5 percent in September, while those to the European Union also posted the first gain in two months, up 7.7 percent vs. -4.4 percent the previous month.

* Imports surged 19.9 percent on year in October, higher than the median forecast of +14.0 percent. It was the seventh straight year-on-year rise after +7.0% in September, led by higher prices of crude oil and liquefied natural gas. Import volumes also posted a sharp increase after the bad weather delayed shipments in September.

* The October trade balance came to a deficit of 449.3 billion yen, wider than the median forecast for a deficit of 50.0 billion yen. It was the fifth straight shortfall this year and compared with a surplus of 278.6 billion yen in October 2017.