Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Japan's Export In July Grew 23.5% YOY, 8 Straight Months of Growth

Even the mainstream analysts and economists in the US are now talking about the US "turning Japanese", fearfully or resignedly anticipating "lost two decades" for the US.

I'd say that's BS. The US can never be Japan, and it's not just about whether the citizens save.

In the face of rising yen, Japan has managed to have trade surplus every month for 16 straight months, with the last 8 with yoy increase. July export increased 23.5%, with import increasing 15.7%, according to Nikkei Shinbun on August 25, 2010:

  • Strong sales to China (22.8% increase) and the rest of Asia - Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand (23.8% increase) in semiconductor, steel, machinery, and automobile;
  • Strong sale to the US (25.9% increase), mostly autos and boilers;
  • Sale to the EU muted (13.3% increase), mostly construction machinery to the Netherlands and Belgium.
Japan didn't have the luxury of weaker currency like Germany did which boosted their export and GDP, but nonetheless they managed to sell value-added manufactured goods to the rest of the world and produced the trade surplus.

Although it is a big question whether they can continue with yen approaching 80 vis-a-vis US dollars and 100 against Euro, goods "made in Japan" have a very strong appeal to the newly rich Chinese and other Asians (many of them are already rich). They come to Japan on shopping tours and buy up things that are 100% made in Japan, which, ironically, are getting harder to find as many Japanese manufacturers have outsourced to Asia, particularly China in the past decade.

Clearly, when the executives of these manufacturers decided to outsource, they didn't think that Asians (of all peoples) would eagerly pay premium for Japanese-made goods in the very near future.


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