ECONOMIC DATA ABROAD

ECONOMIC DATA ABROAD

OIL IMPORTS HELP PUT

JAPAN TRADE IN REDJapan, usually under fire internationally for running huge trade surpluses, was in the red in the first 10 days of April.

A sharp increase in crude oil imports, coupled with a continued slump in overall exports, helped account for the deficit in Japan's customs-cleared trade, a Finance Ministry official said Friday.

But he added that the ministry needs more data before judging whether the deficit figures represent any sort of long-term trend.

Customs-cleared trade fell to a $183 million deficit in the first 10 days of April from a $2.52 billion surplus a year earlier. It was the first deficit since the $1.62 billion for the first 20 days of January.

The Finance Ministry official said imports in the first 10 days of April were particularly robust across-the-board, while exports remained sluggish.

Exports fell 7.8 percent in April from a year earlier to $6.86 billion, while imports surged 43.3 percent to $7.04 billion, the ministry said.

FRENCH INDUSTRY OUTPUT

FELL 1.8 PERCENT IN FEBRUARY

PARIS - French industrial production, excluding construction and public works, dropped 1.8 percent in February, following a revised hike of 1.3 percent in January, according to seasonally adjusted figures released by the national statistics institute, Insee.

Insee's industrial production index stood at 111.7 (1980=100) in February, down from 113.8 in January and 112.3 in December. In February 1989, the index was at 110.5.

ANNUAL INFLATION RATE

IN CANADA EDGES DOWN

OTTAWA - Canada's annual inflation rate, measured by the seasonally adjusted consumer price index, declined slightly to 5.3 percent in March, down 0.1 percentage point from February's rate of 5.4 percent, Statistics Canada reported Friday.

The all-items index, using 1981 as a base of 100, rose to 156.3 in March, up 0.3 percent from February's level of 155.8 and up from the 148.5 level posted in March 1989. Statistics Canada said this month's moderate increase in the all-items index followed January's 0.8 percent gain and February's 0.6 percent gain.

SWEDEN TRADE SURPLUS

INCREASED IN MARCH

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Sweden registered a merchandise trade surplus of $560 million in March, compared with a $428 million surplus in March 1989, the central office of statistics said.

This brought Sweden's merchandise trade surplus to $1.2 billion for the first quarter of 1990, an 8 percent drop compared with the same period in 1989, it added.

Exports stood at $5.3 billion, up 9 percent from March 1989, while imports stood at $4.8 billion, up 7 percent from March 1989.