TOKYO – Japan posted a surprise trade surplus in October as the value of energy imports slumped on falling oil prices, official data showed on Thursday.
The surplus came even as the value of exports declined for the first time since August last year, according to the figures.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been trying for nearly three years to revitalize the world’s number three economy through his signature “Abenomics” programme the foundation of which is based on aggressive monetary easing by the Bank of Japan that has led to a sharp fall in the yen.
But figures on Monday showed that Japan’s economy slipped back into recession for the second time in Abe’s current tenure as premier.
Investors are looking to the announcement by the central bank later on the day to see whether Haruhiko Kuroda, governor, and other policymakers will add more stimulus to bolster growth.
The trade surplus, the first since March, stood at 111.5 billion yen ($902 million) in October, compared with a deficit of 741.76 billion yen in the same month of last year, the finance ministry said.
Economists polled by Bloomberg News had expected a trade deficit of 246.3 billion yen.
Overall, Japan’s exports fell 2.1 per cent from a year earlier, while imports decreased 13.4 percent, according to the official figures measured on a customs-cleared basis.