Japan's trade gap shrinks to nine-month low
- 19 March 2014
- From the section Business
Japan's trade deficit narrowed in February to 800bn yen ($7.9bn) - the lowest level in nine months.
Exports increased by 9.8% and imports showed a sharp slowdown, with a 9% increase in February.
In January the trade gap surged to a record high after imports increased 25%.
Imports had been increasing ahead of a planned tax increase planned for April, as Japanese stocked up on foreign goods.
The Chinese Lunar New Year, which had led to a temporary slowdown in foreign buying, also contributed to the large January figure.
Many analysts believe the imports surge will slow as the planned tax increase goes into effect.
Japan has a run a trade deficit for the past 20 months - a record stretch.
That has been partially due to increasing imports of fossil fuels, after the Fukushima nuclear disaster left the country bereft of its nuclear power base.