Japan’s trade surplus with the rest of the world soared to $38.82 billion in the first half of the year, as exports rose faster than imports amid the global economic recovery, according to preliminary figures released by the Finance Ministry on Monday.
The January-June trade surplus compares with a deficit of 971.5 million in the same six-month period last year, when Japanese exports and imports both fell at their fastest pace on record at the depths of the deep global economic downturn.
In the January-June period, Japan’s overall exports surged 37.9 percent from a year earlier to $377.82 billion, while the country’s overall imports increased 23.3 percent from a year earlier to $39 billion.
The largest contributor to the overall export growth was automobiles, which jumped 74.1 percent in terms of value. Electronic parts, including semiconductors, and auto parts also soared 43.3 percent and 67.3 percent, respectively, in terms of value.
In the first half of this year, Japan’s exports to the U.S. surged 29 percent from a year earlier to $56.6, while imports from the U.S. rose at a much slower pace of 9.8 percent to $34.2 billion).
As a result, Japan’s trade surplus with the U.S. widened 75.8 percent in the January-June period from a year earlier, to $22.43 billion.
Meanwhile, Japan’s exports to China jumped 40.9 percent from a year earlier to $71.5 billion, while its imports from the neighboring country rose 19.6 percent from a year earlier to $73.05 billion.
China supplanted the U.S. as Japan’s biggest export market in 2009 for the first time since the end of World War II on an annual basis. China has already been Japan’s largest import source since 2002 and largest trading partner since 2007.
Japan posted a trade surplus of $7.84 billion with the rest of the world in June, up 41.1 percent. It was the 15th consecutive monthly surplus.