by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) April 20, 2017
Japanese exports recorded their biggest gain in more than two years in March, official data showed Thursday, in a sign of optimism for the world's third-biggest economy.
The strong result, which came in better than expected, backs up the view that Japan's economic growth is picking up steam.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday boosted its economic forecast for Japan, projecting a 1.2 percent annual expansion this year from a January projection of 0.8 percent. A key Bank of Japan business confidence also points to rising optimism among big manufacturers.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been trying for years to rejuvenate growth and end an extended period of on-and-off deflation through a policy blitz of easy money, stimulus and reform.
Exports expanded 12.0 percent in March to 7.2 trillion yen ($66.12 billion), the strongest expansion since January 2015 and the fourth straight monthly gain, according to the Finance Ministry.
"Japan's production and exports are rising on the back of a global rebound in manufacturing," said Masaki Kuwahara, senior economist at Nomura Securities Co.
"In Asia, developing nations are doing well cyclically and that's directly helping Japan's exports."
Export gains were led by strong demand for auto parts and optical instruments, such as mobile phone parts and tools to make semiconductors, the ministry said.
The data comfortably beat the market's expectation for a rise of 6.2 percent.
Imports also rose 15.8 percent to 6.6 trillion yen, more than expected, mainly due to rising oil and coal purchases needed to fire the Japanese economy.
Japan has been less reliant on nuclear power since the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown crisis that led to many of its atomic reactors shutting down over safety fears.
The latest figures put Japan's trade balance at 614.7 billion yen, down 17.5 percent from a year ago.
"The upshot is that net trade should have provided another boost to Q1 GDP growth," said Marcel Thieliant, senior Japan economist at Capital Economics.
Japan announces preliminary gross domestic product figures next month.
By regions, Japanese exports to top trade partner China rose 16.4 percent, while imports from the Asian giant expanded 10.3 percent.
Japan's exports to the United States expanded 3.5 percent, led by auto parts, but all-important vehicle shipments dropped 3.8 percent, the ministry said, as US new auto sales begin to show signs of losing steam.
-- Bloomberg News contributed to this report --
Kenosha, United States (AFP) April 18, 2017
President Donald Trump moved Tuesday to make good on his emblematic pledge to "Buy American, Hire American" by tightening skilled-worker visa rules, but his room for maneuver remains limited without wider congressional reform. Speaking in Kenosha, Wisconsin - one of the states that carried him to his upset victory last November - Trump vowed: "We're going to do everything in our power to m ... read more
Global Trade News
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|