Japan’s exports rise nearly 8% in February on strong shipments of cars and machinery


TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s exports rose 7.8% in February from a year earlier on strong shipments of cars and electrical machinery, the government said Thursday.

Exports in February totaled 8.2 trillion yen ($55 billion), marking the third straight month of growth, according to preliminary customs data.

The report showed the trade deficit sank by more than half on-year to 379 billion yen ($2.5 billion), marking the second straight month of a deficit.

Exports to China rose just 2.5% and those to all of Asia edged 2.3% higher on-year, suggesting that demand has moderated. Exports to the United States rose 18% and exports to the EU were up almost 16%.

The picture for imports was mixed, with China supplying 1.7 trillion yen ($236 billion), a nearly 17% annual increase that more than doubled Japan’s deficit with its giant neighbor.

In all, imports edged up 0.5%, totaling nearly 9 trillion yen ($60 billion), as prices for key commodities such as coal and liquefied natural gas fell.

The strength in exports come as good news, coming a day after the Bank of Japan raised its key interest rate for the first time in 17 years, no longer setting it at below zero. The central bank has promised to still keep lending easy as it gauges various signs for how growth holds up.

One positive recently is a solid rebound in tourism, which counts statistically as exports, with recent data showing that visitor numbers have exceeded those before the COVID-19 pandemic. Japan restricted entry into the country during the pandemic.

Exports have remained relatively strong even as Japan’s economy has slowed, hitting a record high of just over 100 trillion yen ($670 billion) in 2023. B

Japan is now the world’s fourth largest economy, behind Germany.


Yuri Kageyama is on X: https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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