Breaking News
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your experience. Save up to 40% More details

Japan Exports Jump by 50% on Record Gains to the U.S. and Europe

Economic IndicatorsJun 16, 2021 15:26
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
© Reuters.

(Bloomberg) -- Supply Lines is a daily newsletter that tracks trade and supply chains disrupted by the pandemic. Sign up here.

Japan’s exports surged by nearly 50% from last year’s dismal level, as record jumps in shipments to the U.S. and Europe helped boost an economy still struggling with the virus at home.

The value of overseas shipments jumped 49.6% in May compared to a year earlier, when the world economy was suffering under pandemic lockdowns, according to finance ministry figures released Wednesday that were largely in line with the median forecast from analysts. It was the biggest gain since April 1980.

Shipments of cars and auto parts more than doubled, despite a shortage of semiconductors that has crimped vehicle production in the U.S. and other markets.

Still, economists warned that the data give an inflated view of the strength of Japan’s exports because they’re based on a comparison with 2020’s terrible figures, pointing out that the value of shipments was flat compared with April on a seasonally adjusted basis. Compared with 2019’s level, exports rose more than 7%.

Key Insights

  • “The biggest reason behind the jump this time is the fact that exports took a major hit last year with the lockdowns in the U.S. and Europe,” said economist Harumi Taguchi at IHS Markit, adding that auto exports were holding up well but factory stoppages could start to show up in the data this month.
  • With Japan’s consumers and service businesses still dealing with restrictions to contain the virus, the economy will need strong exports to help it eke out growth after last quarter’s contraction. Increasing imports, however, could largely cancel out gains in gross domestic product data.
  • Japan’s latest state of emergency, which calls on restaurants and bars in big cities to close early, is set to end June 20, but some limits are likely to stay in place due to concern about the recent spread of more contagious variants of the virus. It could take a few more months for Japan’s vaccine drive to reach enough people to slow the spread.
  • Profits at Japanese exporters have been helped by a drop of more than 6% in the yen versus the dollar this year. Downward pressure on the currency is likely to persist because of diverging central bank policies, with the Bank of Japan expected to stick with its stimulus, while the Federal Reserve is seen moving toward tapering.

What Bloomberg Economics Says...

“Export growth could gradually slow on a real basis in the coming months. Without a recovery in domestic demand, the economy could face difficulty rebounding in the third quarter.”

--Yuki Masujima, economist

To read full report, click here.

Get More

  • Shipments to the U.S. gained 87.9%, while those to the EU climbed 69.6%. Both records in comparable data going back to 1980.
  • Exports to China, a market that was already starting to recover last May, climbed 23.6%.
  • A 27.9% increase in imports, the most since 2010, contributed to a 187.1 billion yen ($1.7 billion) trade deficit.
  • A separate report showed Japanese machinery orders, a leading indicator of capital spending, rose 0.6% in April from the prior month.

(Adds economist’s comments.)

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Japan Exports Jump by 50% on Record Gains to the U.S. and Europe

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email