Japan Reports 1st Trade Surplus in Nearly 2 Years in June

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan posted its first trade surplus in 23 months in June, as its imports declined mainly due to year-on-year falls in resources prices, which surged a year before owing to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, government data showed Thursday.

Japan’s customs-cleared trade surplus in June totaled ¥43 billion, against the year-before deficit of ¥1.375 trillion, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report.

The country’s exports rose 1.5% from a year before to ¥8.744 trillion, growing for the 28th straight month to hit a record high for June.

Automobile exports jumped 49.7%, chiefly as shipments to the United States and Europe grew amid the easing of semiconductor shortages.

By contrast, exports of steel products and chip manufacturing equipment fell, mainly reflecting a decrease in demand from the rest of Asia. Overall imports fell 12.9% to ¥8.701 trillion, falling for the third successive month.

Crude oil imports plunged 36.2%, coal imports dived 37.5% and liquefied natural gas imports dropped 33.2%, pulled down by lower prices and falling import volumes.