Data Show Japan Nearing Pre-Disaster Export Levels

Posted August 18th, 2011 at 1:35 am (UTC-5)
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New trade data show Japan's export-oriented economy is gradually returning to levels from before the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The figures Thursday showed exports in July were just 3.3 percent lower than in the same month a year ago, despite power cuts and supply chain interruptions that have troubled the manufacturing sector since the twin disasters. Economists had forecast a steeper drop.

The country also reported its second monthly trade surplus after several months of deficits following the disasters. However the surplus was far smaller than in the same month a year ago because of a 9.9 percent increase in imports, driven in part by higher oil prices.

While manufacturers are recovering from the earthquake and tsunami, analysts say a rapid rise in the value of the yen remains a major concern for exporters.