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March 24, 2011    

Japan’s trade balance back into a surplus

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by Kay Murchie
Japan’s trade balance back into a surplus

The Ministry of Finance has today revealed Japan swung back to a surplus in February.

The trade balance came to a surplus of 654.1 billion yen - after having posted the first deficit for 22 months in January.

Exports rose 9% in February on an annual basis - beating expectations of a 8.6% rise.

The Japanese economy, which is the world’s third largest, emerged from recession in the second quarter of 2009 – much sooner than many other economies – driven by export demand.

Meanwhile, imports were 9.9% higher on an annual basis - again exceeding expectations for a 4.4% rise.

However, according to analysts, the country’s trade balance could deteriorate after this month’s earthquake and tsunami.

This has forced some of Japan’s largest exporters to halt production.

According to Takeshi Minami, chief economist, Norinchukin Research Institute, Tokyo: “This will disrupt the prospects for an export-led economic recovery and delay Japan’s escape from a lull until the latter half of this year.”

While the twin natural disasters are expected to impact negatively on growth, many believe Japan will not be pushed back into recession.

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