RTTNews - Japan saw a merchandise trade balance of 69.0 billion yen in April, the Ministry of Finance said on Wednesday, marking the third straight month of surplus. The April figure came in far better than expectations for a 69.5 billion yen deficit following the revised 10.3 billion yen surplus in March.

Exports plummeted 39.1 percent on year, the data showed, falling for the seventh consecutive month. That was smaller than forecasts that had predicted an annual decline of 41.9 percent after the 45.5 percent fall in March. On a seasonally adjusted basis, April exports were up 1.9 percent from March.

Imports fell 35.8 percent on year, declining for the sixth straight month. Analysts had expected a fall of 38.4 percent on year after the revised 36.6 percent decline in March.

Energy sources were a major factor for the decline in imports. The value of crude imports in Japan plummeted 59.1 percent on year in April, the ministry said, standing at 557 billion yen. The volume of crude imports was 18.9 million kiloliters in April, the data showed, marking an 11.1 percent annual decline. The import of naphtha and gasoline imports was up 19.7 percent on year to 2.1 million kiloliters in April. LNG imports were 5.3 million tons, down 7.9 percent, while coal imports stood at 11 million tons - down 28.4 percent on year.

Japan saw a surplus of 377.9 billion yen in trade with the rest of Asia, down 50.69 percent on year. With China alone, Japan posted a deficit of 178.2 billion yen - up an annual 4.7 percent.

With the United States, Japan saw a trade surplus of 200.8 billion yen, down an annual 65.1 percent. Japan also saw a trade surplus with Europe of 136.29 billion yen, down 66.5 percent on year.

The adjusted trade balance reflected a deficit of 52.1 billion yen following the 97.1 billion yen shortfall in March.

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