Japan’s recovery kicked into high gear in November as exports and imports not only grew but grew faster for the first time in months.
Japan's exports to the rest of the world grew for the 12th month in a row on a year-on-year basis in November, rising 9.1 percent to $65.55 billion and picking up the pace from 7.8 percent growth in October, according to preliminary figures released by the Finance Ministry on Wednesday.
After surging 45.3 percent in February, overall exports had grown at a decreasing rate for eight months in succession. November’s faster growth comes amid a stronger yen and a weakening pace of global economic recovery.
By The Numbers: U.S. Trade with Japan.
Japan's imports from the rest of the world grew for the 11th consecutive month on a year-on-year basis in November, increasing 14.2 percent to $63.59 billion, faster than the previous month for the first time in three months.
Japan's trade surplus shrank for the first time in three months, narrowing 55.4 percent to $1.96 billion.
Top export commodities were steel, metal processing machinery and motors. Top imports were iron ore, audio-visual equipment and petroleum products.
Exports to the rest of Asia grew 13 percent from a year earlier. Japan's shipments to China grew 18.3 percent in November from a year earlier.
China supplanted the U.S. as Japan's biggest export market in 2009 for the first time since the end of World War II. China has been Japan's largest import source since 2002 and largest trading partner since 2007.
Despite the faster year-on-year pace of growth in Japan's overall exports, the country's shipments to the United States slowed for two months in a row. They rose at a tepid pace of 1.2 percent in November, totaling $10.48 billion. Still, it was the 11th straight monthly growth on a year-on-year basis.
Japan's imports from the U.S. increased for the first time in two months, rising 12.1 percent to $6.16 billion. Japan's imports from the U.S. had declined 9 percent in October.
As a result, Japan's trade surplus with the U.S. shrank for the first time in 11 months, narrowing 11.2 percent to $4.32 billion.
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