Japan’s exports to the United States rose for the ninth consecutive month in July on a year-over-year basis, increasing 4.7 percent to $11.78 billion, according to preliminary figures released by the Finance Ministry on Wednesday.
Japan’s imports from the U.S. rose for the first time in two months in July on a year-on-year basis, growing 7.6 percent to $6.46 billion. As a result, Japan’s trade surplus with the U.S. expanded for six months in a row in July, widening 1.4 percent from a year earlier to $5.32 billion.
The July growth in U.S.-bound shipments was led by autos, construction and mining machinery and heavy electrical machinery, which soared 14.1 percent, 55.2 percent and 42.5 percent, respectively, in terms of value.
The growth in imports from the U.S. was led by aircraft, medical products and audio visual equipment, which surged 447.6 percent, 17.4 percent and 104.2 percent, respectively, in terms of value.
Japan’s exports to the rest of the world decreased for the second straight month in July on a year-on-year basis, tumbling 8.1 percent to $67.00 billion, while its overall imports rose for the first time in two months, increasing 2.1 percent to $73.53 billion.
As a result, Japan posted a deficit of $6.52 billion in its trade with the rest of the world in July. It was the first trade deficit in two months and the largest deficit on record for the month of July.
Japan’s overall exports sank due to weaker demand for its products amid the slowing global economy. Shipments to the European Union (EU) and China posted particularly big declines of 25.1 percent and 11.9 percent, respectively. The year-on-year pace of decline in Japan’s overall exports in July was much faster than 2.3 percent in June.
Japan is now the world’s third-largest economy after the U.S. and China and is heavily dependent on exports for growth. The U.S. is Japan’s second-largest trading partner after China.
The July growth in Japan’s overall imports was primarily fueled by liquefied natural gas (LNG), which ballooned 24.2 percent in terms of value. Japan’s imports of LNG as an alternative fuel to atomic power have continued to grow since last year’s nuclear crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Resource-poor Japan imports almost all of its oil and natural gas. The country imports natural gas in the form of LNG and is by far the world’s largest importer of the cleaner-burning fuel.
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