Japan’s trade surplus expanded 4.7-fold in October from a year earlier to 496.17 billion yen ($4.5 billion), marking a second straight month of black ink, the government said Monday, with falling exports outweighed by a drop in imports tied to lower crude oil prices.
The value of exports dropped 10.3 percent from a year earlier to 5.87 trillion yen, falling for the 13th straight month, dragged down by a firming yen in addition to sluggish steel exports and automobile shipments to the Middle East.
Imports plunged 16.5 percent to 5.37 trillion yen, marking a 22nd straight month of decline, reflecting a continued drop in crude oil prices, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report. The value of crude oil imports plunged 27.2 percent.
Japan’s weakening exports reflected “sluggish growth in global trade,” said Toru Suehiro, senior market economist at Mizuho Securities Co. “In addition, a firming yen negatively affected exports” by reducing price competitiveness of Japanese products, he said.
An appreciating yen pushes down import prices but usually hurts exports by making Japanese products more expensive abroad and reduces the value of overseas revenues in yen terms.
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