Japan posts trade deficit for 3rd straight month

NHK -- Nov 17
Japan's exports increased in October from a year earlier, marking the eighth straight month of growth.

However, the country still posted a trade deficit for the third month in a row, highlighting the pressure the world's third largest economy is facing from surging oil prices.

The Finance Ministry said exports rose 9.4 percent in yen terms last month. That was mainly due to higher shipments of steel to Asian countries, and semiconductor machinery to China.

Auto exports plunged over 35 percent, however. Automakers continued to cut production due to a shortage of semiconductors and difficulty in procuring parts in Southeast Asia.

Imports jumped almost 27 percent, increasing for the ninth straight month. The price for imported crude oil in yen terms surged over 80 percent from a year earlier, leading to a sharp increase in the overall value of imports.

As a result, last month's trade balance showed a deficit of 586 million dollars.