Japan’s export growth hit a ten-year high

Driven by semiconductor, automobile and other industries, Japan’s foreign trade report card in April was outstanding. On May 20 local time, Japan’s Ministry of Finance released the preliminary value of April Trade Statistics (subject to customs clearance), which showed that the export volume was 7.1811 trillion yen (about 423.6 billion yuan), which was not only 38% higher than the same period in 2020, but also higher than the 30.9% predicted by economists, and also the largest increase since April 2010 (40.4%).

Compared with the past data, Japan’s export volume of 7.1811 trillion yen also hit a record high in the same month over the years. In addition to the base effect of a sharp decline in the same period of 2020 due to the spread of the epidemic, the export of automobile and semiconductor manufacturing devices to the United States and China also increased significantly.

Specifically, the export volume in April increased by 7.8% compared with that in April 2019, exceeding the pre epidemic level. Among them, the export of automobile increased by 88.9%, the export of semiconductor and other manufacturing equipment increased by 79.1%, and the export of auto parts increased by 38%.

By region, Japan’s exports to China increased by 33.9% in April to 1.5834 trillion yen, a 10 month growth in a row, mainly due to the demand for chip manufacturing equipment, hybrid electric vehicles and copper scrapers.

In April, Japan’s exports to the United States increased by 45.1% year on year to 1.2761 trillion yen, mainly from the demand for automobiles, auto parts and ship engines. In addition, Japan’s exports to the EU also increased by 39.6% to 676.1 billion yen on the strength of automobiles.

In terms of import data, Japan’s imports in April increased by 12.8% year-on-year to 6.9258 trillion yen, up for three consecutive months. Crude oil and petroleum products increased; Imports of pharmaceuticals, including vaccines from the European Union, are also growing. The trade surplus was 255.3 billion yen, showing a trade surplus for three consecutive months.

The positive export data has made the outside world more optimistic about Japan’s economic prospects. Yuichi Kodama, chief economist at the Meiji Yasuda Institute, said trade data confirmed that exports were gradually recovering. Auto exports, which have fallen sharply since last year, are now picking up. In Japan, capital expenditure is synchronized with external demand, so export recovery is good news for machinery orders and capital expenditure.

Ayako sera, market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui trust bank, pointed out that export growth is certainly good for Japan’s economy, but it does not mean that Japan as a whole can benefit from it. But at least progress has been made in vaccination, leading to a recovery in the service industry.

However, Kyodo news agency also stressed in the report that under the background of global semiconductor shortage, auto manufacturers are forced to reduce production, and the comprehensive recovery in the future may encounter resistance.

The novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic in Japan was released in April, and the data released in May 18th showed that the Japanese economy has been interrupted for two consecutive quarters of recovery due to the outbreak of the new crown pneumonia. From January to march in 2021, it decreased by 1.3% compared with the previous three months, or the annualized decline rate was 5.1%. Nominal GDP fell by 1.6% on a month on month basis and by 6.3% on an annual basis, also falling after two quarters.

Although foreign trade is gradually recovering, it is difficult for Japan’s domestic demand to be fully boosted by the impact of the epidemic. Japanese companies are facing rising costs that are constantly threatening profit margins, as well as the dual concerns of consumers’ mentality. According to the agency survey, Japan’s core CPI is expected to rise by 0.3% in fiscal year 2021 and 0.5% in fiscal year 2022, slightly worse than the previous survey of 0.4% and 0.5% respectively in April.

At present, because of the severe epidemic situation, nine prefectures in Japan have implemented a state of emergency. This is Japan’s third state of emergency since last April. As the Japanese people have experienced a certain degree of “emergency fatigue”, the number of people going out is significantly more than that in the previous two emergencies. In addition, the spread of mutated NCV in Tokyo Metropolitan and Osaka Prefecture also increased the difficulty of anti epidemic.

On May 19, due to the deterioration of the epidemic situation, Okinawa Prefecture has also decided to request the central government for a state of emergency. On the same day, Okinawa County governor Yucheng Dani said that the number of new confirmed cases in Okinawa on the same day was estimated to be more than 200, a significant increase from 168 on the 18th. In response, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Shengxin said that the central government would evaluate the Okinawa Prefecture Government’s request as soon as possible.

Novel coronavirus pneumonia was reported in Japan on 19 th, 5819 cases were confirmed, and 95 new cases were reported. According to NHK, there were 95 cases of newly diagnosed cases, 700 thousand cases were diagnosed, and 11957 cases died.

On the 19th, Japan’s Ministry of health, health and labor held an expert meeting, which held that due to the wide spread of highly infectious mutant virus, although nine prefectures in Japan have entered a state of emergency again, and the state of emergency in many regions has lasted for some time, the number of newly diagnosed cases in Japan has not decreased significantly, Severe cases and deaths continue to increase.

The ongoing epidemic situation has brought a lot of uncertainty to the upcoming Olympic Games in July. At present, pessimism about the Tokyo Olympics is spreading in Japanese society. According to a poll released by Asahi Shimbun on the 17th, 43% of respondents think that the Tokyo Olympic Games and Paralympic Games should be “terminated”, 40% think it should be “postponed again”, and only 14% think it should be “held this summer”.

Xiaoyuyouyi, chief economist of Meiji Yasuda comprehensive research institute, said it was doubtful whether the state of emergency would end at the end of May“ If it is extended to mid June or even the end of June, we may see two quarters of contraction. ” At the same time, he also said that as long as the US economy maintains a solid foundation, Japan’s economy may maintain its positive momentum, but the difference in the speed of vaccine promotion will continue to have a “no small” impact on the pace of recovery.

Comprehensive report of Beijing Business Daily

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