Japan's trade deficit narrows on slower imports

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's trade deficit narrowed in April as exports grew faster than imports following an increase in the sales tax that is expected to dampen demand for some time.

The 808.9 billion yen ($8 billion) deficit in April, according to preliminary figures released Wednesday by the Ministry of Finance, compared with a gap of 877.4 billion yen a year earlier.

Exports climbed 5.1 percent from April 2013 to 6.07 trillion yen ($60 billion) while imports rose 3.4 percent to 6.88 trillion yen ($68 billion).

A moderation in costs for imports of oil and gas that account for about a third of Japan's imports reflected a strengthening of the yen and decreases in shipments of some fuels.

Exports of machinery and transport equipment rose as recoveries gained momentum in overseas markets.