TOKYO (AP) - Japan reports its trade deficit widened in September, the third straight month of shortfalls, as exports plunged 10.3 percent from a year earlier.
The Ministry of Finance said Monday that the deficit for September was 558.6 billion yen ($7.2 billion), higher than many analysts' forecasts but lower than the $9.6 billion trade deficit for August.
The ministry figures show exports to all regions falling, apart from a meager 0.4 percent year-on-year gain in shipments to North America. Exports to crisis-stricken Europe plummeted 26 percent.
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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