Japan April Trade Deficit Halves

Japan’s trade deficit nearly halved to a one-year low of 432.41 billion yen ($3 billion) in April, as imports dropped for the first time in 27 months on lower crude oil prices, while US-bound auto shipments delivered record exports, the Japanese Finance Ministry said Thursday.

Surging energy imports kept resource-poor Japan deeply in the red, with a weaker yen inflating their value. For April, total imports fell 2.3 percent to 8.72 trillion yen, dragged down by crude oil and liquefied natural gas.

Exports, meanwhile, gained 2.6 percent to 8.29 trillion yen, the largest-ever for April. The increase came despite growing concerns about slowdowns in the US and European economies, Japanese News Agency (Kyodo) reported.

Japan reported a trade deficit for the 21st straight month, underscoring its sensitivity to swings in commodity prices. The yen recovered some of the ground lost during its rapid deprecation last year but was still relatively weak against the US dollar.

On average, the dollar traded at 132.23 yen, 7.6 percent higher than a year earlier. The total value of imported crude oil fell for the first time in over two years, down 25.0 percent to 883.0 billion yen.

Source: Qatar News Agency

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