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Japan trade deficit widens again

Japan has reported its trade deficit widened in September, the third straight month of shortfalls, as exports plunged 10.3% from a year earlier.

The Ministry of Finance said that the deficit for September was 558.6 billion yen (£4.39 billion), higher than many analysts' forecasts but lower than the £5.99 billion trade deficit for August.

The ministry figures show exports to all regions falling, apart from a meagre 0.4% year-on-year gain in shipments to North America. Exports to crisis-stricken Europe plummeted 26%.

The strong Japanese yen has hurt the country's export competitiveness, while demand has evaporated as growth slowed in most regions. Meanwhile, the country's energy imports have risen following closures of most of its nuclear plants.

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