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Japan's trade deficit in September bigger than forecast

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Staff writer ▼ | October 22, 2015
Japan worker
Asia   A 0.6 percent growth in exports from Japan

Japan's trade deficit for September came in below median analysts expectations for a gain as a sluggish 0.6 percent rise in exports saw the deficit standing at 114.5 billion yen (about $955 million).

This compares to expectations for a 87 billion yen surplus, the finance ministry said.

The figure in the recording period marls the sixth month of red ink as exports rose just 0.6 percent versus expectations for a 3.8 percent increase and imports retreated 11.1 percent, moderately better than analysts' predictions of a 12 percent decline.

According to leading economists, the figures point to the economy still faltering at the tail end of the third quarter and may be the biggest indicator yet that the economy has entered a technical recession.

If this is the case, there will be increased pressure on the Bank of Japan, whose outlook has tried to be optimistic despite downside pressures from overseas economies, particularly those in East Asia where tepid growth is impacting Japan's export figures, to unleash more monetary stimulus measures to bolster the economy here and to ensure their reflationary efforts remain on track.

According to the ministry's preliminary report, Japan's exports to the United States expanded by 10.4 percent and those to the European Union were up 5.1 percent on year. However those to Asian countries declined by 0.9 percent, with a 3.5 percent drop in exports to China being particularly noteworthy, economists said.

The country's trade deficit for the April to September period, however, shrank 76 percent from a year earlier to 1,308.6 billion yen (10.9 billion U.S. dollars), owing largely to a fall in prices for crude oil.


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