August 26, 2009

Trade surplus up for sixth straight month

Japan's July trade surplus totaled 380 billion yen or $4.03 billion due to a sharp drop in imports while exports declined, the government said Wednesday.

The July number was the sixth straight month of a surplus, the Finance Ministry said, Kyodo news reported.

July exports fell 36.5 percent from a year earlier to 4,844.66 billion yen or $51.43 billion. During the same month, imports fell 40.8 percent to 4,464.42 billion yen or $47.4 billion, the report said.

The ministry said the pace of decline in exports has slowed since the beginning of this year's serious slump, but the recent level is still far from being on solid footing.

The export decline was led by automobiles, steel products, semiconductors and other electronic components.

Some economists told Kyodo a pickup in Japanese exports could slow after the stimulus measures have run their course. Yusuke Ichikawa with the Mizuho Research Institute said the speed of recovery in exports would be slower in the July-September period.