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Japan’s Trade Surplus Rises

November 25, 2002

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TOKYO (AP) _ Japan’s trade surplus nearly doubled to 902 billion yen ($7.3 billion) in October from a year ago as robust exports continued to drive growth for the nation’s struggling economy.

The figures, released Monday by the Finance Ministry, topped economists’ expectations for a 60 percent expansion in the trade surplus. Exports grew 14 percent, outpacing the nearly 4 percent growth in imports, and boosted the surplus for the eighth straight month.

But analysts warned exports could slow as the pace of recovery grows more moderate in overseas economies, such as the United States and Europe.

Japan’s trade surplus with the United States climbed 20.8 percent to 743 billion yen ($6 billion) in October.

U.S.-bound exports were up 2.1 percent, helped by a 5.6 percent increase in exports of automobiles and a 21.7 percent rise in administrative equipment. Imports were down 16.0 percent, due in part to a sharp 47 percent decline in beef imports.

Japan’s trade surplus with Asia surged more than five-fold from a year earlier to 339 billion yen ($2.8 billion), as strong demand for Japanese information-technology equipment continued to underpin exports to the region.

October exports of semiconductors and other electrical parts to Asia were up 41 percent, steel exports grew 33 percent and auto exports jumped 64 percent. Imports from Asia were up 11 percent, the ministry said.

Japan’s surplus with the European Union expanded 8 percent.

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