Japan's trade surplus with the rest of the world ballooned about 15-fold in April from a year earlier to $8.25 billion thanks to a robust growth in exports, according to preliminary figures released by the Finance Ministry on Thursday.
April was the 13th successive month in which Japan exported more goods than it imported in terms of value.
Japan's overall exports rose for the fifth consecutive month in April on a year-on-year basis, surging 40.4 percent to $65.44 billion, while its overall imports increased for the fourth straight month on a year-on-year basis, growing 24.2 percent to $57.19 billion.
The year-on-year rise in Japan's overall exports in April was led by automobiles, which soared 103.1 percent, auto parts and electronic parts, including semiconductors.
The year-on-year rise in Japan's overall imports in April was led by crude oil, which was up 64.3 percent, nonferrous metals and liquefied natural gas.
After falling for 28 months, Japan's exports to the United States rose for the fourth consecutive month in April on a year-on-year basis, growing 34.5 percent to $9.76 billion.
After falling for 15 months, Japan's imports from the U.S. also increased for the fourth straight month in April on a year-on-year basis, growing 9.4 percent to $5.52 billion.
As a result, Japan's trade surplus with the U.S. expanded for the fourth successive month in April on a year-on-year basis, expanding 91.3 percent to $4.24 billion.
Automobile exports to the U.S. surged 105.3 percent to lead U.S.-bound exports in April.
Motors, electronic parts, including semiconductors and organic chemicals led imports from the U.S. in April.
Japan's exports to China rose for six months in a row in April on a year-on-year basis, surging 41.4 percent to $12.78 billion, while its imports from China rose for three months in succession on a year-on-year basis, rising 17.9 percent in April to 13.01 billion.
As a result, Japan posted a trade deficit of $236.67 million with China in April. It was the first trade deficit in two months.
China supplanted the U.S. as Japan's biggest export market in 2009 for the first time since the end of World War II. China has already been Japan's largest import source since 2002 and largest trading partner since 2007.
-- Contact Hisane Masaki at firstname.lastname@example.org.