Led by strong exports to the rest of Asia, Japan’s trade surplus surged 95.6 percent in October from a year earlier to 902 billion yen, according to a preliminary report released Monday by the Finance Ministry.

October’s figure marked the eighth consecutive month of year-on-year growth in the customs-cleared merchandise trade surplus, with exports exceeding imports.

Exports rose 14.3 percent from the previous year to 4.65 trillion yen, the seventh straight month of increase, while imports grew 3.9 percent to 3.75 trillion yen, the second consecutive month of increase.

The export growth was supported by strong exports of cars, computer-related equipment and electronic components, including semiconductors.

Imports rose mainly due to increased imports of electronic components and office equipment, including copiers, against the backdrop of the country’s moderate recovery in production, according to the ministry.

“Exports to Asia greatly contributed to an increase in the trade surplus,” said a ministry official, referring to a 276.3 billion yen increase in Asian exports out of the 441 billion yen overall trade surplus increase.

The trade surplus with Asia surged 438.1 percent to 339.4 billion yen, the eighth straight month of increase. The 438.1 percent growth is the highest figure in terms of amount since May, when the trade surplus with the region registered a 628.5 percent year-on-year increase.

Exports to Asia jumped 28.1 percent to 2.06 trillion yen, the eighth straight month of growth, as a result of brisk exports of electronics appliances and steel. Imports grew 11.4 percent to 1.72 trillion yen, the second straight month of increase.

The politically sensitive trade surplus with the United States increased 20.8 percent to 742.8 billion yen, the second consecutive month of increase, mainly due to the favorable exports of automobiles and computer-related equipment, according to the ministry.

Exports to the U.S. increased 2.1 percent to 1.28 trillion yen, the second straight month of increase, while imports dropped 16 percent to 532.5 billion yen, the first decrease in two months.

The trade surplus with the European Union increased 8.2 percent to 194.3 billion yen, the first increase in two months.

Exports to the EU increased 7.9 percent.

In October, the yen averaged 123.2 to the dollar, down 3 percent from the previous year.

The trade data are measured on a customs-cleared basis before adjustment for seasonal factors.

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