TOKYO — Japan's politically embarrassing trade surplus dropped steeply to $5.15 billion last month from $7.48 billion in August, 1986, reflecting a sharp rise in the nation's appetite for foreign goods, the government announced today.
Japan's trade surplus has eased month by month since the end of last year but the latest decline is the most dramatic.
Economists said the fall should ease some of the trade friction between Japan and the United States, where Congress is considering protectionist trade legislation.
Japan's surplus with the United States shrank in August to $3.73 billion from $4.41 billion in the same month a year ago. The decline, a 15.3% drop from last year's surplus, marks the first double-digit decrease in more than two years.