Photo: Rennett Stowe via Flickr
There’s lots of buzz about the changing fortunes for Japanese exporters, who were once the envy of the world.From Nomura:
In January, Japan’s nominal exports fell 9.3% y-y while nominal imports rose 9.8% (market consensus: nominal exports -9.4%, nominal imports +9.6%). The trade deficit (original series, nominal) came to ¥1,475.0bn, the widest ever recorded in a single month (on a seasonally adjusted basis, the deficit was ¥612.8bn). We calculate that real exports declined 1.5% m-m and real imports increased 5.1% (both seasonally adjusted by Nomura). January real exports were down 1.4% on the 2011 Q4 average, while real imports were up 3.6%.
But before you totally freak out, there are some caveats:
Although Japan recorded its widest ever trade deficit for a single month in January, we think caution is needed in interpreting the data, as (1) results were in line with the market consensus, and (2) figures may have been skewed by the Lunar New Year. We plan to examine the underlying export trend for January and February once we have seen the export orders index in February PMI data and surveyed manufacturers’ output forecasts in industrial production data, both of which are to be announced 29 February.
Still though, there does seem to have been a shift, putting even more pressure on the Bank of Japan to cool the surging yen.