Japan Falls Into Trade Deficit In April

It is the first time in 31 years that Japan has recorded a deficit for the month of April.

Japan logged a trade deficit in April as exports tumbled at the fastest pace in 18 months on supply chain disruptions after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, official data showed Wednesday.

It is the first time in 31 years that Japan has recorded a deficit for the month of April, according to the finance ministry.

Japan logged a deficit of 463.7 billion yen ($5.6 billion) last month, reversing a year-before surplus of 729.2 billion yen.

Exports fell 12.5 percent, the fastest pace of decline since October 2009, with shipments of automobiles diving 67.0 percent and electronics parts such as microchips dropping 19.0 percent.

Exports to China, the biggest market for Japanese products, decreased 6.8 percent to log the first year-on-year fall in 18 months.

The overall deficit, however, was smaller than the market average forecast of 700 billion yen.

Japan last ran a trade deficit in January -- 479.4 billion yen -- due to rising commodity prices and weak demand from China ahead of China's Lunar New Year holiday.

Overall imports in April rose 8.9 percent to post growth for the 16th consecutive month as purchases of petroleum products shot up 62.2 percent on higher prices and demand.

Copyright by Agence France-Presse, 2011

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