Japan's trade deficit contracted in October as exports of cars, ships and steel picked up pace and falling oil prices cut into costs for imports.
The government reported Thursday that the deficit fell 36 percent from a year earlier to 710 billion yen ($6 billion). It was the 28th straight month of deficit, but much lower than economists had forecast.
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Exports rose 9.6 percent from a year earlier to 6.69 trillion yen ($56.7 billion) while imports rose 2.7 percent to 7.4 trillion yen ($62.7 billion).
Japan's trade surplus with the U.S. climbed 6.8 percent to 610 billion yen ($5.2 billion) while its deficit with China jumped 15 percent to 587 billion yen ($5 billion).
Japan's economy slipped into recession in July-September. A long-awaited recovery in exports could reverse that trend.