Japanese exports are falling again, thanks in part to China

Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images

For the first time since March 2015 Japan has recorded a trade surplus.

The government reported a trade surplus of 111.5 billion yen in October, beating expectations for a deficit of 292 billion yen. In September the nation recorded a trade deficit of 114.5 billion yen.

The surprise surplus came courtesy of an unexpected plunge in imports. From a year earlier they slipped by 13.4%, down on the 8.6% decline expected, with the contraction the steepest recorded since March this year.

On the other side of the ledger, exports fell 2.1% from a year earlier, in line with expectations. It was the first time since August last year that exports declined on an annualised basis.

The government reported that exports to the US increased 6.3% from October 2014. However, those to China slid by 3.6%, a slightly steeper pace than that seen in the year to September.

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