Asia

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - 01:32

MNI POLICY: BOJ Eyes How China Pickup To Boost Japan Exports


--Japan March Exports Fall -2.4% Y/Y After -1.2% In February

TOKYO (MNI) - Japan's exports fell again in March, posting a fourth straight drop, indicating exports continue to be hit by slowing global demand, with Bank of Japan officials watchful over the outlook.

BOJ officials are looking at how recovering domestic demand in China will boost Japan's exports of capital goods, automobiles and electronic parts and devices this month to see whether examine the exports have bottomed.

Exports, a main driver for Japan's economy, fell 2.4% on year in March following a 1.2% decline in February, beating the MNI median forecast of a 2.7% fall, led by lower exports steels, auto parts and optical equipment.

Exports to China fell 9.4% on year in March following a gain of 5.6% in February.

Exports of metal working machinery, optical equipment and chip-making equipment fell, indicating that the impact of the recovering China's economy on Japan's exports was limited.

--BOJ OUTLOOK

At the latest policy-setting meeting in March, the BOJ board lowered its assessment, saying, "exports have shown some weakness recently."

The previous assessment was exports are on an increasing trend."

Imports rose 1.1% on year in March, below the MNI median forecast for a 3.0% rise. It was the first rise in three months following a 6.6% fall in February, led by higher imports of aircraft, clothing and accessories and liquefied natural gas.

January's trade balance was a surplus of Y528.5 billion in March, higher than the MNI median forecast for a Y350.0 billion surplus in February. It was the second straight surplus following a surplus of 335.0 billion in February.

The next piece of data for officials is the BOJ's real trade indexes for March, due at 1400JST (0500 GMT), with the real export index develops key. The index rose 6.0% on month in February, for the first rise in two months following -5.3% in February.

--MNI Tokyo Bureau; tel: +81 90-2175-0040; email: hiroshi.inoue@marketnews.com
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2225; email: les.commons@marketnews.com

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