Not Good: China passed US as Japan's biggest trading partner

Not Good: China passed US as Japan's biggest trading partner

January 26, 2005

An article in today’s Japan times reveals that in 2004 China passed the US as Japan’s bigest trading partner for the first time. According to the article,

Finance Ministry data released Wednesday show that Japan’s exports to and imports from China, including Hong Kong, amounted to 22.20 trillion yen in 2004 — the highest since records began in 1947 — outpacing the 20.48 trillion yen in trade with the U.S.

China represented 20.1 percent of Japan’s trade in 2004, compared with 18.6 percent for the U.S. In 2003, the U.S. had 20.5 percent and China 19.2 percent.

Exports to China came to 11.83 trillion yen and imports reached 10.37 trillion yen, giving Japan a 1.46 trillion yen customs-cleared trade surplus with China.

Exports to the U.S. came to 13.72 trillion yen and imports to 6.76 trillion yen, for a 6.96 trillion yen trade surplus for Japan.

In US dollars, Japan sold $115 billion worth of stuff to China last year and did $215 in overall trade. That sort of business buys a lot of listening when important issues come up in the UN. Especially given the recent long-term deal China did with Iran as an oil supplier.

This is only going to get bigger. Yesterday China reported a 9.5% growth rate for Q4/2004. Slow down, my butt.

Better start practising our Mandarin.

PS: This is one of the reasons I have a substantial long position in Japanese stocks today. The exchange traded fund covering Japan is EWJ.

John Rutledge

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