21 Apr 2012

Surge in car exports by Japan

6:36 am on 21 April 2012

Japan's exports rose in March, boosted by a surge in shipments of cars as the sector continues to recover from last year's natural disasters.

Latest trade data shows car exports rose 33.6% from a year earlier, with overall exports up by 5.9%.

Carmakers benefited from growing demand from markets such as the United States. Sales of cars and light trucks there rose 13% in March. Toyota sales were up by 15% and Nissan gained 13%.

The yen fell more than 8% against the US dollar between February and March this year, making Japanese goods more affordable.

However, Japanese imports rose by 10.5% in March, resulting in a trade deficit of 82.6 billion yen ($US1 billion) during the month.

The jump was driven largely by a 21.8% increase in imports of liquefied natural gas. Since the earthquake and tsunami last year, electricity companies have been relying heavily on thermal power plants, which require coal, oil and LNG to operate.