Japan reports 1st trade surplus in 6 years on cheaper oil
TOKYO - Japan reports that it posted a trade surplus in 2016, the first in six years, as lower oil prices pulled imports lower.
The 4.1 trillion yen ($35.8 billion) surplus compared with a 2.8 trillion yen deficit in 2015. Exports fell 7.4 percent from a year earlier while imports dropped 16 percent.
Japan's trade surplus with the U.S. fell nearly 5 percent.
Japan's trade balance slipped into deficits after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant and the country's reactors were shut down for safety checks.
To compensate, resource-poor Japan ramped up imports of oil, gas and coal for its conventional power generators. In 2016, imports from the Middle East, Japan's main source of crude oil, dropped by nearly a third from the year before.
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