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The epidemic drags on, Japan's foreign trade situation is grim


source:[Gravimetric blender]   release time:2021-04-13 11:10:38




With the spread of the new crown pneumonia epidemic, the impact on Japan's foreign trade has become more apparent. The latest data show that Japan's current account surplus continued to shrink sharply, with a year-on-year decline of more than 30% in the first half of the year. The current account surplus in June fell by 86.6% year-on-year.

  The impact of the epidemic is further manifested

  The preliminary balance of payments statistics report released by the Ministry of Finance of Japan on the 11th showed that Japan's current account surplus decreased to 7.3069 trillion yen in the first half of this year, a year-on-year decrease of 31.4%. This is the first time since 2015 that Japan's current account surplus fell below 10 trillion yen in the first half of the year. The data also showed that Japan's current account surplus in June fell by 86.6% year-on-year to 167.5 billion yen, a year-on-year decline that abruptly expanded from May.

  Affected by the improvement in the export situation and the expansion of inbound tourism consumption by foreigners, Japan's current account surplus increased by 4.4% in 2019.

  At the beginning of this year, Japan’s current account performance continued the momentum of last year. As the commodity trade balance turned from a large deficit to a surplus, the service trade balance deficit decreased. In January, the current account balance turned from a deficit of the same period last year to a surplus. The amount reached 899.8 billion yen, much higher than the 132.7 billion yen deficit in the same period last year. In February, the reduction in imports caused by the outbreak caused Japan's current account surplus to increase by 21.2%, reaching 3.17 trillion yen, a two-year high and the third highest current account surplus in history. However, as the impact of the epidemic has further manifested, Japan's current account surplus has fallen sharply year-on-year since March, falling by 32%, 84.2%, 27.9%, and 86.6% from March to June, respectively, with a surplus of 1.97 trillion yen. , 262.7 billion yen, 1.1768 trillion yen and 167.5 billion yen.

  Significant impact of car tourism

  Analyzing the breakdown of Japan's current account data in the first half of the year, it can be found that the impact of the epidemic on the reduction of Japan's current account surplus is mainly reflected in the following aspects.

  In terms of merchandise trade, Japan’s exports in the first half of the year fell by 15.6% year-on-year to 32.0053 trillion yen due to the sharp decline in exports of automobiles and auto parts to the United States. Data show that in the first half of the year, Japanese auto exports fell by 30.9% year-on-year, the largest half-year decline since the 34.4% decline in the second half of 2009. Auto parts exports also fell by 29%.

  The epidemic has also had a favorable impact on Japan's current account. Japan is an energy importer. Due to the implementation of air traffic restrictions during the epidemic, shrinking demand for aircraft engines and crude oil, and the impact of falling energy prices in the international market, imports in the first half of the year fell 12.3% year-on-year to 33.1029 trillion yen. According to preliminary statistics released by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on July 31, crude oil imports in June fell by 31% year-on-year to 1.91 million barrels per day, the lowest level in 54 years.

  Without the impact of the decline in imports, Japan’s merchandise trade deficit in the first half of this year would be larger than the 1.0976 trillion yen currently announced.

  In terms of trade in services, the epidemic has had a greater impact on Japan, mainly reflected in the significant decline in the number of overseas tourists visiting Japan, and the delay in payment of intellectual property rights by some companies.

  According to data from the Ministry of Finance of Japan, due to the sharp decline in foreign tourists visiting Japan, the income of Japan's travel and transportation industries has dropped significantly, and the service trade balance in the first half of the year has a deficit of 1.1711 trillion yen.

  After the outbreak, Japan imposed entry restrictions on more than 100 countries and regions including China, South Korea, and the United States. According to data from the Japan Tourism Agency, the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan in March dropped by 93% year-on-year, and the decline exceeded the number of Japanese citizens traveling abroad; the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan in April fell by 99.9% year-on-year, with only 2,900 people; they visited Japan in May The number of foreign tourists in Japan dropped to 1,700, a decrease of 99.9% from the same period last year; in June, foreign tourists visited Japan to 2,600, a decrease of 99.9% for three consecutive months.

  Overseas investment income, including interest and dividends, is still the most important source of Japan's current account surplus. Data show that in the first half of the year, Japan's overseas investment income fell to 10.4346 trillion yen due to the decline in securities investment income.

  Declining exports weighed on the economy

  The epidemic has put heavy pressure on businesses and consumers. In the first quarter of this year, the Japanese economy plunged into its first recession in four and a half years. The Cabinet Office of Japan recently revised its economic growth forecast for this year, adjusting it from the 1.4% growth determined at the beginning of the year to a drop of 4.5% to 5%. This decline will exceed Japan's growth rate of -3.4% during the international financial crisis in 2008, becoming the largest decline since the implementation of the current statistical system in 1955. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe admitted that due to the epidemic, the economic outlook is worse than during the financial crisis.

  At the same time, the epidemic is making a comeback in some countries and regions, including Japan. Recently, Japan has newly confirmed more than 1,000 cases in a single day for multiple consecutive days. In response to the current epidemic, Shinzo Abe said on the 9th that the government will try to avoid declaring a state of emergency again in order to reduce the impact of the epidemic on the economy. However, the confidence of all walks of life in Japan is still inevitably affected.

  The current status index of Japan's July economic observers announced on August 11 was 41.1, slightly higher than the expected value of 40 and the previous value of 38.8, but the economic outlook index was only 36, lower than the expected value of 44, and also lower than the previous value of 44.

  In the first half of the year, Japan’s trade surplus with its major trading partners all dropped sharply. Among them, the merchandise trade surplus with the United States plummeted 49.3% year-on-year to 1.75 trillion yen, the largest drop since the 67% plunge in the first half of 2009. It was also the largest decline since Japan’s 1.62 trillion yen in the first half of 2011. The United States had the smallest surplus in a year. Japan’s trade surplus with Asian countries plummeted 20.5% to 1.37 trillion yen; exports fell 8.5% to 18.54 trillion yen; imports fell 7.3% to 17.17 trillion yen. Japan’s trade deficit with the EU was 729.96 billion yen, as its exports fell 17.7% to 3.21 trillion yen, while imports fell 11.3% to 3.94 trillion yen.

  In 2019, Japan's foreign trade dependence is about 28%. Although it is lower than before, foreign trade still plays an important role in the economy. Japan’s foreign trade surplus has fallen sharply. In the first half of the year, exports had the largest decline in a decade and a half. In June, exports had experienced double-digit declines for the fourth consecutive month.

  Analysts believe that although more and more countries are starting to restart their economies, Japan’s weak export data may weaken expectations of global demand and a rapid rebound in Japan’s export-oriented economy.[Gravimetric blender]