Japan trade surplus with US shrinks for second month

Tokyo (AFP) –


Japan's sensitive trade surplus with the United States shrank sharply for the second consecutive month, according to official data published Wednesday, as Tokyo nervously eyes Washington's trade war with China.

The surplus came in at 455.8 billion yen ($4.05 billion) in August, as the rise in US aerospace, natural gas and coal imports outpaced Tokyo's exports of pharmaceutical and construction products.

US President Donald Trump has reportedly cited Japan as his next target after China as he seeks to reduce Washington's trade deficit.

The US-China trade war has shown no sign of cooling, with Trump moving forward with tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports, sparking immediate retaliation from Beijing.

Japan logged an overall global trade deficit of 444.6 billion yen, as the rising value of energy imports continued to outpace export growth.

Exports rose 6.6 percent led by machines to build semiconductors, automobiles and ships.

But the total value of foreign imports climbed 15.4 percent, largely due to rising cost of energy such as crude oil, LNG and coal.

Japan's deficit with its biggest trading partner China shrank 25.1 percent.