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September 9, 2009

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Japan's current account surplus falls

JAPAN'S current account surplus in July fell 19.4 percent from a year earlier as exports tumbled amid a slow recovery in the global economy, the finance ministry said yesterday.

The current account surplus, Japan's broadest measure of trade with the world, was 1.27 trillion yen (US$13.6 billion), the ministry said.

Exports in July dropped 37.6 percent to 4.55 trillion yen, marking the 10th consecutive year-on-year decline.

"Sluggish exports dragged down the surplus. Exports were weak in every key region, underlining that a recovery in the global economy has yet to become solid," said Hideki Matsumura, senior economist at think tank Japan Research Institute.

Japan's exports to the United States dropped 39.5 percent, while Asia-bound shipments fell 29.9 percent. Exports to the European Union nosedived 45.8 percent in the month.

Matsumura said exports, a key driver for Japan's economy, will remain stagnant throughout the year due to sustained concern over a recovery in the US economy.

"Unless the US economy fully recovers, we will not see a turnaround in exports," he said.

Among key products, auto exports were down by a staggering 52.3 percent. Steel exports also plunged 42.1 percent. Exports of semiconductor products fell 28 percent.

Imports plunged 41.2 percent to 4.11 trillion yen in the month.

A drop in the income surplus, which includes revenue of Japanese companies operating overseas, also pressured the current account surplus.


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