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Japan's Trade Back In Surplus

Japan said March 23 its trade balance had swung back into surplus in February after the first deficit for five years in January as exports soared thanks to a strong global economy and a weaker yen. Providing further evidence that the world's number two economy is finally emerging from its deflation doldrums, a separate government survey showed Tokyo land prices snapped a 15-year losing streak in 2005.

Japan's trade account showed a surplus of 955.7 billion yen (US$8.5 billion) in February, 11.8 % lower than a year ago, the finance ministry said. The improvement, which was short of market expectations for a 1.11 trillion yen surplus, fanned optimism that Japan's economy is on a firm path to recovery after a slump stretching back over a decade.

In February, exports to the U.S. rose 16.1% from a year earlier, with vehicles up 21%. Exports to the rest of Asia rose 22% to give a trade surplus of 757.5 billion yen in February after a deficit of 165.6 billion yen in January.

Rising exports are being accompanied by a pick-up in corporate and consumer spending although soaring energy costs are hurting the Japanese economy, which gets most of its oil and coal from overseas.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

TAGS: Trade
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