Japan’s trade deficit shrank in April as imports rose the least in 16 months after the first sales-tax increase in 17 years crimped consumer spending.
Inbound shipments rose 3.4 percent from a year earlier, the Ministry of Finance said today in Tokyo. Exports (JNTBEXPY) increased 5.1 percent, leaving a deficit of 808.9 billion yen ($8 billion), down 7.8 percent from a year earlier.
Reductions in the nation’s trade deficits, which extended their record run to 22 months, would help Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to drive a sustained economic recovery and an exit from deflation. So far, the nation’s export gains have been limited, even with a 17 percent slide in the yen against the dollar since he took office in December 2012.