Japan’s trade surplus with the United States expanded for the first time in eight months in September on a year-over-year basis, as exports posted relatively strong growth despite a decline in auto shipments, according to preliminary trade figures released by the Japanese Finance Ministry today.
Japan’s exports to the U.S. rose for the first time in two months in September on a year-over-year basis, increasing 4.4 percent to 1.158 trillion yen ($10.8 billion). The growth in exports was led by motors, pumps and centrifuges, and construction and mining machinery, which surged 18.4 percent, 47.6 percent and 43.1 percent, respectively, in terms of value.
Automobile exports fell 5.2 percent in terms of value and 14.7 percent in terms of volume. Autos accounted for 27.7 percent of Japan’s U.S.-bound exports in September, in terms of value.
Japan’s imports from the U.S. grew for the fourth straight month in September on a year-over-year basis, increasing 6.9 percent to 617.5 billion yen. The growth in imports was led by grains, fishery products and meat, which ballooned 50.7 percent, 45.9 percent and 18.7 percent, respectively, in terms of value.
As a result, Japan’s trade surplus with the U.S. widened 1.7 percent in September from a year earlier to 540.7 billion yen.
Japan is now the world’s third-largest economy after the U.S. and China and is heavily dependent on exports for growth. The U.S. is Japan’s second-largest trading partner after China.
The U.S. overtook China to become Japan’s biggest export market for the first time in five years in 2013, although China remained by far the biggest source of Japanese imports.