TOKYO – Japan recorded a trade deficit of 136.33 billion yen ($1.26 billion) in August, 69.6 percent lower than the negative trade balance it posted in the same month of 2018, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.
Exports fell 8.2 percent year-on-year to 6.14 trillion yen while imports decreased 12 percent to 6.28 trillion yen.
China remained Japan’s main trading partner in August although exports declined year-on-year by 12.1 percent and imports by 8.5 percent, according to the ministry’s data, which is still provisional.
Japan recorded a trade deficit with China in August of 216.77 billion yen, up 17.7 percent from the negative trade balance recorded in the same month in 2018.
Japan’s exports to the United States – its second-largest trading partner – fell 4.4 percent while imports decreased 9.2 percent.
With the US, Japan had a trade surplus of 472.01 billion yen, 3.8 percent more than that recorded in August last year.
This is the first monthly decline in Japanese exports to the US since September of 2018.
The data’s release comes in the middle of the final phase of talks between the US and Japan to finalize a new trade treaty.
The data also indicates a drop in trade with South Korea – Japan’s second-largest trading partner in Asia – with which the Japanese government has been locked in economic and political disputes for several months.
Japan’s exports to South Korea fell 9.4 percent in August and imports by 10.3 percent.