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Japanese Exports Surge to End First Quarter on Strong Note

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  • Japanese Exports Surge to End First Quarter on Strong Note

Japanese exports grew at the fastest rate in more than two years in March, supporting a moderate economic recovery in the face of weak domestic demand.

Key Numbers

  • Exports rose 12 percent from a year earlier (median estimate +6.2 percent), according to data released by the Ministry of Finance.
  • Imports jumped 15.8 percent (median estimate 10 percent), the biggest gain in more than three years.
  • The trade surplus for March was 614.7 billion yen ($5.64 billion), compared with an estimate of 608 billion yen.

Big Picture

Exports have recently become a bright spot for the Japanese economy. The March trade data indicate growing health in the global economy, particularly in Asia, will continue to support the Bank of Japan’s efforts to generate a sustainable recovery. Questions remain: Will Japanese consumers will start spending again, and will the U.S. take a tougher line with Asian exporters over their trade surpluses with America.

Economist Takeaways

  • “Japan’s production and exports are rising on the back of a global rebound in manufacturing,” said Masaki Kuwahara, senior economist at Nomura Securities Co. “In Asia, developing nations are doing well cyclically and that’s directly helping Japan’s exports.”
  • “A key point will be whether the U.S. economy gets back on a firm footing,” Kuwahara said. “Exports to the U.S. have been weaker than to Asia.”
  • Izumi Devalier, head of Japan economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said on Bloomberg TV that export growth will be very solid for another six months or so. “But we are a little bit cautious about the outlook after the summer given that we expect a little bit of a slowdown in China, reflecting some monetary tightening that’s going on over there right now,” she said.

The Details

  • Exports to the U.S. increased 3.5 percent from a year earlier.
  • Those to the EU rose 1.4 percent.
  • Shipments to China, Japan’s largest trading partner, climbed 16.4 percent.
  • The value of exports reached the highest level since September 2009, and exports saw the largest annual percentage increase since January 2015.
  • Exports of auto parts jumped 21.2 percent from a year earlier; much were to Japanese automakers in the U.S.
  • Liquid crystal devices to China and iron and steel products to Thailand helped exports to Asia reach a record monthly high at 3.86 trillion yen.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Crude Oil

South Africa’s iGas, PetroSA and Strategic Fuel Fund Merge to Create South African National Petroleum Company

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The South African Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has announced the merger of Central Energy Fund (CEF) subsidiaries iGas, PetroSA and the Strategic Fuel Fund (SFF).

The merger will be effective from 1 April 2021 and the new company will be called the South African National Petroleum Company.

The merger, driven by the pursuit of implementing a new company that has a streamlined operating model via the development of a shared services system and a common information platform, comes a few months after cabinet approval and the confirmation that PetroSA had incurred losses of R20 billion since 2014.

Additional factors which prompted the move included the determination to strengthen PetroSA which had not had a permanent CEO in five years prior to the appointment of CEO Ishmael Poolo last and, had become majorly ungainful since its failure to secure gas for the gas-to-liquids refinery project in Mossel Bay.

While the merger deadline has been set, the portfolio committee expressed reservations to the department’s likelihood of meeting the deadline, considering the existing legislative regime, pending issues raised in the SFF and PetroSA forensic reports, as well as PetroSA’s current insolvency and liquidity challenges, the official press statement on the briefing revealed.

“South Africa’s energy sector is entering a new dawn,” said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber. “With gas discoveries off the coast and the announcement of the REIPPP programme bid window 5 and 6 on the horizon, now is the most opportune time for the merger of the CEF subsidiaries. Of course, it is not an easy task and delays may be anticipated but, this move signals a real change towards a meaningful strategy that will not only be beneficial to the DMRE but to potential investors and local development as well.”

The African Energy Chamber welcomes this move and acknowledges that this is yet another step supporting the country’s determination to restarting the engines of sustainable growth and the transformation of energy policy and infrastructure.

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Crude Oil

Crude Oil Hits $71.34 After Saudi Largest Oil Facilities Were Attacked

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Brent Crude Oil Rises to $71.34 Following Missile Attack on Saudi Largest Oil Facilities

Brent crude, against which Nigerian oil is priced, jumped to $71.34 a barrel on Monday during the Asian trading session following a report that Saudi Arabia’s largest oil facilities were attacked by missiles and drones fired on Sunday by Houthi military in Yemen.

On Monday, the Saudi energy ministry said one of the world’s largest offshore oil loading facilities at Ras Tanura was attacked and a ballistic missile targeted Saudi Aramco facilities.

One of the petroleum tank areas at the Ras Tanura Port in the Eastern Region, one of the largest oil ports in the world, was attacked this morning by a drone, coming from the sea,” the ministry said in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency.

It also stated that shrapnel from a ballistic missile dropped near Aramco’s residential compound in Eastern Dhahran.

Such acts of sabotage do not only target the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but also the security and stability of energy supplies to the world, and therefore, the global economy,” a ministry spokesman said in a statement on state media.

Oil price surged because the market interpreted the occurrence as supply sabotage given Saudi is the largest OPEC producer. A decline in supply is positive for the oil industry.

However, Brent crude oil pulled back to $69.49 per barrel at 12:34 pm Nigerian time because of the $1.9 trillion stimulus packed passed in the U.S.

Market experts are projecting that the stimulus will boost the United States economy and support U.S crude oil producers in the near-term, this they expect to boost crude oil production from share and disrupt OPEC strategy.

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Crude Oil

A Loud Blast Heard in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia’s Largest Crude Oil Production Site

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Loud Blast Heard in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia’s Largest Crude Oil Production Site

Two residents from the eastern city of Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday said they heard a loud blast, but they are yet to know the cause, according to a Reuters report.

Saudi’s Eastern province is home to the kingdom’s largest crude oil production and export facilities of Saudi Aramco.

A blast in any of the facilities in that region could hurt global oil supplies and bolster oil prices above $70 per barrel in the first half of the year.

One of the residents said the explosion took place around 8:30 pm Saudi time while the other resident claimed the time was around 8:00 pm.

However, Saudi authorities are yet to confirm or respond to the story.

 

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