Business

Japan's trade gap shrinks to nine-month low

  • 19 March 2014
  • From the section Business
Shipping barge with containers in japan Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Japan has been forced to import a large amount of fossil fuels after the Fukushima disaster

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.

More on this story