Japan reported a trade surplus of 242.8 billion yen ($2.2 billion), marking its biggest trade surplus since September 2011, the government announced.
In February, nominal exports valued in yen declined 4.0% over the same month last year, which followed the 12.9% decrease recorded in January. The fall exceeded the 3.0% drop that market analysts had expected. Soft global demand, particularly from Asia, continues to weight on Japan’s exports. The surplus compares with a deficit of 426 billion yen ($3 billion) in February 2015 and a deficit of 648.7 billion yen ($5.75 billion) in January 206..
Japan’s exports in February fell 4 per cent from a year earlier to 5.7 trillion yen ($50 billion) while imports dropped 14.2 per cent to 5.46 trillion yen ($48 billion), according to data released by the finance ministry.
The print was better than both the 17.8% drop tallied in January and the 15.2% decrease that market analysts had expected. Imports continued to decline at double-digit rates due to the fall in energy prices.
The closures of most nuclear power plants following the Fukushima accident in 2011 have pushed Japan from surpluses into deficits since the imports of oil and gas to generate electricity in power plants has put a heavy burden on the Japanese trade balance.
Japan’s deficit with China, its biggest commercial partner, fell by 50.5 per cent, to 382.4 billion yen ($3 billion).
With the world’s largest economy and its second biggest trading partner, the US, Japan posted a trade surplus of 604 billion yen ($5 billion), up 4.3 per cent from year-on-year.
As for trade with the European Union, Japan recorded a deficit of 33 billion yen (2$296 million).