FILE - In this Jan. 25, 2017 file photo, a cargo is loaded onto a freight vessel at the pier of a container terminal in Tokyo. Japan reports it logged its biggest monthly trade surplus since 2010 in February, as exports to China surged by 28 percent. Preliminary customs data released Wednesday, March 22 show overall exports rose 11 percent and imports edged up 1 percent. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

Japan logs biggest trade surplus since 2010 in Feb

March 21, 2017 - 10:02 pm

TOKYO (AP) — Japan logged its biggest monthly trade surplus since 2010 in February, as exports to China surged by 28 percent from a year earlier.

Preliminary customs data released Wednesday show overall exports rose 11 percent to 6.35 trillion yen ($56 billion) and imports edged up 1 percent to 5.5 trillion yen ($49 billion). The resulting trade surplus of 813.4 billion yen ($7.3 billion) for the month was more than double that of a year earlier.

Weaker oil prices and a stronger yen also reduced costs for imported gas and oil needed to fuel the economy, analysts said.

"The upshot is that net trade should have continued to support growth this quarter," Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics said in a commentary.

The month's biggest year-on-year gains were in exports of machinery and electronic components, likely reflecting improved manufacturing in China.

But exports to many other Asian countries also rose at double-digit paces, with Japan's overall trade surplus in the region more than quadrupling to 996 billion yen ($8.9 billion).

Exports to the U.S. rose 0.4 percent, to 1.2 trillion yen ($11 billion) and imports fell slightly, for a surplus of 611 billion yen ($5.5 billion).

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