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Japan exports grow less than expected in April, trade balance shrinks

Published 2024-05-21, 08:02 p/m
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Investing.com-- Japan’s exports grew less than expected in April as demand in its biggest markets- the U.S. and China- only saw a partial recovery over the past month, which in turn saw the country’s trade deficit widen. 

Exports grew 8.3% year-on-year in April, official data showed on Wednesday. The reading was weaker than expectations of 11.1%, but still accelerated from the 7.3% growth seen in March.

The country’s trade balance shrank to a deficit of 462.5 billion yen ($2.96 billion), compared to expectations for a deficit of 339.5 billion yen and last month's surplus of 366.5 billion yen. 

The disappointing export figure came as demand in China, which has been a key point of weakness for Japanese exports, recovered at a staggered pace through April. While Beijing did announce a slew of recent stimulus measures to support the economy, their effects on demand, specifically in consumer spending, was yet to be felt. 

Japanese imports also rebounded at a slower-than-expected pace, as local demand remained laggard. Imports grew 8.3% year-on-year, lower than expectations of 9% but stronger than the 4.9% growth seen in March.

Japanese consumer spending- which is a key driver of import demand- has remained largely weak in recent months, amid pressure from high inflation.

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