Japan's exports hit record high in April

New figures show that Japanese exports reached historic highs in April. The surge was partially due to an increase in shipments of semiconductor equipment to China.

Statistics released by the Finance Ministry show that Japan's exports for the month stood at 7.1 trillion yen, or about 65 billion dollars. That's the largest for April since 1979, when comparable data become available.

The total is up 38 percent from the same month last year and 7.8 percent from 2019, before the start of the pandemic.

Exports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment to China more than doubled, as the country struggles with the effects of a global shortage.

Total shipments to the US also surged, growing 45 percent from a year earlier.

Japanese imports were also up. The figure grew 12.8 percent to more than 6.9 trillion yen, or over 63 billion dollars. This is mainly down to rising crude-oil prices.

As a result, the April trade balance was a surplus of 2.3 billion dollars. It was the third straight month that the figure was in the black.