[TOKYO] Japan's exports rose 8.0 per cent in April from a year earlier, up for an eighth straight month, Ministry of Finance data showed on Monday, underlining a gradual pickup in external demand.
The rise compares with a 6.4 per cent annual increase seen by economists in a Reuters poll. It followed an 8.5 per cent year-on-year rise in March.
Imports fell 4.2 per cent in the year to April, versus the median estimate for a 1.5 percent annual decrease.
The trade balance came to a deficit of 53.4 billion yen (US$439.3 million), versus the median estimate for a 318.9 billion yen deficit. In March the trade balance had marked the first surplus since June 2012.