Japan’s exports grew by double digits for a fourth straight month in October, continuing the best year-to-date performance since the global financial crisis.


  • The value of exports rose 14 percent from a year earlier (forecast +15.7 percent).
  • Imports increase 18.9 percent (forecast +20.2%).
  • The trade surplus was 285.4 billion yen ($2.6 billion), less than the forecast of 330 billion yen.

Improving global demand has fueled strong growth in Japan’s exports throughout the year, with new smartphones creating demand for parts and machinery in recent months. In the nine months through September, Japan exported 57 trillion yen worth of goods, the most over that period in any year since 2008. This has helped drive Japan’s economy to seven straight quarterly expansions, while investors expecting growing earnings have pushed stock prices to multi-year highs.

Economists’ Views

  • Demand for parts for new smartphones will support Japan’s exports, according to Nomura economists led by Kengo Tanahashi. “In the longer term, we think demand for infrastructure investment from developing nations will strengthen,” they wrote in a note before the data were released.
  • This demand will support Japanese exports and the global economy, they said.
  • Exports to Asia recovered in the third quarter, and we will be watching for a clearer turnaround in this period, Barclays economists Yuichiro Nagai and Yukito Funakubo wrote in a note before the release. “We expect exports to the eurozone to recover from the recent slump on strength in the region’s economy.”

Other Details

  • Japan’s adjusted trade balance showed a surplus of 322.9 billion yen (forecast 206.7 billion yen).
  • Exports to China, Japan’s largest trading partner, rose 26 percent from a year earlier.
  • Those to the U.S. rose 7.1 percent.
  • Shipments to the EU climbed 15.8 percent.