Japan’s exports declined less than forecast while a drop in imports underscored the challenge to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in stoking domestic demand.
Overseas shipments fell 1.3 percent in August from a year earlier, the finance ministry said in Tokyo today, compared with the median estimate for a 2.6 percent reduction in a Bloomberg News survey of 25 economists. Imports were 1.5 percent lower, leaving a deficit of 948.5 billion yen ($8.7 billion).
Abe must decide whether to raise Japan’s sales tax to 10 percent next year after an April increase plunged the economy into its deepest contraction in five years. Recovery is being undermined with household spending falling in the four months since April, output sluggish and exports unable to provide an engine for growth.