Japan posted a merchandise trade deficit of 953.4 billion yen in November, the Ministry of Finance said on Wednesday - down 37.9 percent on year while continuing to reflect slowing exports to China in a territorial island dispute.
Sinking into the red for the fifth straight month and 12th in the last 14, the headline figure beat forecasts for a shortfall of 1,035.1 billion yen following the downwardly revised deficit of 551.1 billion in October (originally 549.0 billion yen).
Exports were down 4.1 percent on year to 4.983 trillion yen, also beating forecasts for a 5.5 percent decline following the 6.5 percent contraction in the previous month. It also marked the sixth straight month of contraction.
Exports to China again were the key drag, plummeting 14.5 percent on year to 858.693 billion yen due to escalating tensions over ownership of disputed islands in the East China Sea.
Exports to all of Asia contracted 2.5 percent on year to 2.729 trillion yen.
Exports to the United States added 5.3 percent on year to 933.760 billion yen, while exports to the debt-ridden European Union plummeted an annual 19.9 percent to 501.632 billion yen.
Imports added 0.8 percent on year to 5.937 trillion yen versus expectations for a rise of 0.6 percent after shedding a revised 1.6 percent a month earlier.
Imports from Asia added 3.6 percent on year to 2.726 trillion yen, while imports from China alone gained an annual 5.8 percent to 1.406 trillion yen.
Imports from the United States shed 5.5 percent on year to 479.933 billion yen, while imports from the European Union added 4.7 percent to 628.044 billion yen.
The adjusted trade deficit came in at 868.5 billion yen, missing forecasts for a shortfall of 848.2 billion yen following the upwardly revised 624.3 billion yen deficit in October.
by RTT Staff Writer
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