Japan's trade deficit shrinks in April

Japan's trade deficit narrowed in April as costs for energy imports fell.

The Finance Ministry says imports exceeded exports by more than 430 billion yen, or about 3 billion dollars. That's about half as much as the amount a year earlier. The monthly deficit was the 21st in a row for Japan.

Exports rose 2.6 percent in yen terms from a year earlier. Auto shipments to the US gained as an easing shortage of semiconductors helped production.

Imports fell by 2.3 percent as yen-denominated crude oil costs dropped 16.7 percent.