Japan's Finance Ministry reports a smaller-than-expected trade deficit of $9.6 billion for August, though weakening demand overseas is undermining hopes for an export-driven revival.
The 754.1 billion yen ($9.6 billion) deficit in August was smaller than the $9.9 billion deficit reported a year earlier. Exports in August totaled 5.05 trillion yen ($64.33 billion), down 5.8 percent from a year earlier, while imports fell 5.4 percent to 5.8 trillion yen ($73.9 billion).
The strong Japanese yen has bit into exports while demand has evaporated in crisis-stricken Europe. Meanwhile, the country's energy imports have risen following closures of most of its nuclear plants.
Japan has eked out small trade surpluses in some months this year but reported a record annual trade deficit for the fiscal year that ended in March.