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Japan's current account surplus dives

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TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- Japan's current account surplus, a leading gauge of international trade, dropped 66 percent in November from the year before, a sharp decline reflecting the global economic slump, the government announced Tuesday.

It was the ninth straight monthly drop, according to the finance ministry's figures.


The figure -- currently 581 billion yen ($5.8 billion) -- is the broadest gauge of Japan's trade with the rest of the world. November's decline offered a fresh illustration of how the global economic crisis is affecting worldwide demand for Japan's goods.

The announcement follows Toyota's warning in December that it would report its first loss as a public company and its subsequent announcement that it'd idle all 12 of its wholly-owned factories for an extra 11 days.

CNN's Kyung Lah contributed to this report.

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