Monday, December 16, 2013

"How to Track Japan’s Main Growth Driver: Exports"

From Real Time Economics:
Japan’s economy is once again becoming dependent on foreign demand for growth as the initial effects of Abenomics on domestic consumption wear off. But global investors trying to gauge where Japanese exports are headed face an array of statistics offering different pictures. Ahead of November trade data due Wednesday, here is a quick guide to Japan’s export indicators.
Bloomberg News
Shipping containers stacked at the Aomi Container Terminal in Tokyo on Dec. 2.
Value of Exports — Up 19%
The finance ministry releases data on merchandise exports roughly 20 days after the end of each month, summing up reports from Japanese customs on how many autos, computer chips and home electronics, among other items, have been shipped abroad.

The headline figure for media organizations is the total value of exported goods in yen terms. In October it was up 19% from a year earlier, the sharpest increase in over three years.
 The problem is that changes in the total value don’t necessarily reflect the underlying strength of exports accurately. October’s impressive jump was in no small part due to the dollar’s 25% surge against the yen since the previous year.

Volume of Exports — Up 4.4%
“If you want to know the trend of exports, you ought to look more closely at their volume rather than their value,” says Yoshimasa Maruyama, a senior economist at Itochu Economic Research Institute....MORE