Top Japanese Trade Balances

Tokyo skyscraper

Tokyo skyscraper

Cars, trucks and automobile parts are major drivers for the highest positive trade balances for Japan. Yet a myriad of other commodities including petroleum gases, crude oil, smartphones and coal generate negative balances pushing Japan into an overall trade deficit.

Japan’s total trade balance for all products equaled a -US$694.9 million deficit in 2015, down -97.8% from a -$32.2 billion shortfall during 2011.

Year over year, Japan’s -$694.9 million trade deficit results from an intensive -99.4% shrinkage from its -$122 billion deficit posted in 2014.

Top Japanese Trade Balances by Product and Country

Product+

The following 10 leading products generated a surplus subtotal of $159.8 billion for US in its global trade during 2015. Metrics listed below highlight Japan’s strongest competitive advantages over worldwide trading partners.

  1. Cars: US$77.1 billion (down -1.8% since 2011)
  2. Automobile parts/accessories: $21.4 billion (down -32.2%)
  3. Cruise/cargo ships, barges: $10.7 billion (down -58%)
  4. Trucks: $9.5 billion (down -14.3%)
  5. Machinery for making semi-conductors: $9.4 billion (down -47.9%)
  6. Heavy machinery (e.g. bulldozers, excavators): $7.1 billion (down -38.5%)
  7. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: $6.7 billion (down -52.2%)
  8. Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products: $6.2 billion (down -23%)
  9. Printing machinery: $6 billion (down -40.9%)
  10. Miscellaneous machinery: $5.7 billion (down -35.6%)

Not one of the above product categories experienced an increased surplus amount since 2011. The mildest percentage surplus decreases were -1.8% for cars and -14.3% for trucks.

Leading the decliners were: cruise/cargo ships and barges (down -58%), integrated circuits and microassemblies (-52.2%), machinery for making semi-conductors (down -47.9%) and printing machinery (down -40.9%).

Product-

The 10 major products below accumulated a deficit subtotal of -$184 billion for Japan in international trade during 2015. Japan has demonstrated the severest competitive disadvantages in the exports and imports of the following commodities.

  1. Petroleum gases: -US$50.8 billion (down -28.5% since 2011)
  2. Crude oil: -$45 billion (down -68.3%)
  3. Phone system devices: -$18 billion (up 24.6%)
  4. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: -$16.3 billion (down -47.1%)
  5. Medication mixes in dosage: -$14.9 billion (up 31%)
  6. Computers, optical readers: -$11.8 billion (down -18.5%)
  7. Iron ores, concentrates: -$9.3 billion (down -56.7%)
  8. Copper ores, concentrates: -$7.8 billion (down -32.1%)
  9. Aluminum (unwrought): -$5.1 billion (down -24%)
  10. Processed petroleum oils: -$4.9 billion (down -63.3%)

Two top products accelerated Japan’s red ink in 2015. Trade deficits for medication mixes in doses rose 31% followed by phone system devices including smartphones at 24.6%.

Reducing their product trade deficits since 2011 were: crude oil (down -68.3%), processed petroleum (down -63.3%), iron ores and concentrates (down -56.7%) and coal including solid fuels made from coal (down -47.1%).

Country+

In 2015, Japan generated a surplus subtotal worth $164.8 billion with the following 10 trading partners.

  1. United States US$58 billion (up 12.9% since 2011)
  2. Hong Kong $33.1 billion (down -20%)
  3. South Korea $17.2 billion (down -34.7%)
  4. Taiwan $13.7 billion (down -50.6%)
  5. Singapore $12 billion (down -35.7%)
  6. Netherlands $8.9 billion (down -27.3%)
  7. Thailand $7.6 billion (down -41.9%)
  8. Mexico $5.7 billion (down -8.4%)
  9. Panama $4.4 billion (down -69.7%)
  10. United Kingdom $4.2 billion (down -53.7%)

Among the above countries, Japan grew its trade surplus with the United States via a 12.9% gain.

Among the remaining nine countries, the leading decliners were: Panama (down -69.7%), United Kingdom (down -53.7%), Taiwan (down -50.6%) and Thailand (down -41.9%).

Country-

Japan lost money in its international trade with 78 countries. Topping the list, the following 10 trade partners created a -$146.5 billion deficit subtotal in 2015 from exchanging exports and imports with Japan.

  1. China -US$51.3 billion (up 134.7% since 2011)
  2. Australia -$21.9 billion (down -43.6%)
  3. United Arab Emirates -$14.8 billion (down -58.1%)
  4. Qatar -$14.8 billion (down -49.2%)
  5. Russia -$10.6 billion (up 47.7%)
  6. Malaysia -$9.5 billion (down -18.7%)
  7. Indonesia -$8.2 billion (down -49.8%)
  8. Ireland -$6.1 billion (up 86.4%)
  9. Switzerland -$4.7 billion (down -439.4%)
  10. Kuwait -$4.5 billion (down -61.4%)

Japan increased its per-country deficits with three trade partners: China (up 134.7%), Ireland (up 86.4%) and Russia (up 47.7%).

Leading the 7 other countries with which Japan reduced its trade deficit were: Switzerland (down -439.4%), Kuwait (down -61.4%) and United Arab Emirates (down -58.1%).




 

See also Japan’s Top 10 Major Export Companies and Japan’s Top 10 Exports

Research Sources:
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on November 3, 2016

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on November 3, 2016

The World Factbook, Field Listing: World, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on November 3, 2016

Wikipedia, Economy of Japan. Accessed on November 3, 2016