Page last updated at 12:13 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 13:13 UK

Japan current account drops 55%

Cranes and containers at Yokohama, Japan (30/03/2009)
Japan's exports have been hit by a collapse in demand

Japan's current account surplus declined in April for the fourteenth consecutive month.

The finance ministry said the April surplus dropped by 55% to 630.5bn yen ($6.4bn; £4bn) from the same month a year ago as exports declined sharply.

But with the rate of decline in exports slowing, some believe the world's second-largest economy will continue to have a positive trade balance.

The current account reflects Japan's balance of trade with other nations.

That also includes returns on investments made abroad.

Japan's trade performance "will likely continue to track this slight improvement in exports for the time being," said Norio Miyagawa, an economist at Shinko Research Institute.

Japan's economy, which depends heavily on exports, has been hit hard by the global downturn. It shrank at its quickest pace since records began, as exports slumped during the first three months of 2009.



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