Japan’s trade surplus falls

23 May, 2019 12:00 AM printer

TOKYO: Japan’s trade surplus dropped by around 90 percent in April, official data showed Wednesday, with exports affected by a slowdown in China’s economy as it wages a trade war with Washington.

Meanwhile, Japan’s politically sensitive trade surplus with the United States grew 17.7 percent in April from a year earlier, the data showed, days before US President Trump arrives on a state visit, reports AFP.

Japan’s overall trade surplus plummeted by 90.3 percent to 60.4 billion yen ($550 million). The decrease, sharply lower than market expectations, was chiefly due to falls in exports of chip-related products to China, the finance ministry data showed. But the trade surplus with the United States was up for a second consecutive month, led by exports of automobiles, chip-making equipment and aircraft.

The jump in the surplus with the US — to 723.2 billion yen ($6.5 billion) — follows an almost 10 percent rise in March and a 1.6 percent dip in February. The latest figures come ahead of Trump’s visit to Japan this weekend for meetings with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. They are expected to focus on issues including trade.

Trump has frequently complained that Japan has an unfair advantage in bilateral trade, and is seeking to negotiate a new trade agreement with Tokyo.