TOKYO – Japan says its trade balance slipped into deficit in August, for the first time in three months, as a stronger yen sapped exports.
The Finance Ministry said Wednesday that exports in August totaled 5.32 trillion yen ($52.4 billion), down 9.6 percent from a year earlier. The 5.34 trillion yen ($52.5 billion) in imports was a year-on-year drop of 17.3 percent.
The deficit of 18.7 billion yen ($184 million) was still smaller than the 567.5 billion yen deficit recorded in August 2015.
Japan's central bank was meeting and expected to announce fresh monetary policy measures later Wednesday that could pull the yen lower against the U.S. dollar.
The yen weakened sharply in late 2012 through 2014 but has since rebounded. That can make Japanese products less price competitive overseas.