The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Japan trade deficit hits record $27.4B in January as exports trail surge in costlier imports

  • Print

TOKYO - Japan's trade deficit surged to a monthly record of 2.8 trillion yen ($27.4 billion) in January as imports jumped 25 per cent, underscoring the challenge the country faces in restoring export-driven growth.

A weakening in the Japanese yen over the past year has failed to boost exports as much as hoped while imports of oil and gas, food and other products have surged. Consumers and businesses are thought to be stepping up purchases ahead of an April 1 sales tax hike.

The Finance Ministry reported Thursday that exports rose 9.5 per cent from a year earlier to 5.25 trillion yen ($51.5 billion) while imports were 8.04 trillion yen ($78.8 billion).

The previous record monthly deficit was 1.63 trillion yen, in January 2013.

Exports have suffered, meanwhile, as global growth has remained sluggish, but should pick up as the recovery gains momentum, Marcel Thieliant of Capital Economics said in a commentary.

"But the monthly numbers may well look worse before they get better," he said.

Japan's deficit with China also surged, to a record 1.04 trillion yen ($10.2 billion), as imports jumped 34 per cent while exports climbed 13 per cent.

Imports have been rising relative to exports as Japanese manufacturers increasingly shift production overseas, to be closer to customers in fast-growing developing nations and to reduce their own costs, resulting in trade deficits with many neighbouring countries.

Exports to the U.S. climbed 22 per cent, to 1.02 trillion yen ($10 billion) while imports rose 26 per cent to 656.4 billion yen ($6.4 billion), leaving Japan with a surplus of 367.2 billion yen ($3.6 billion).

Japan's large and growing reliance on imports of crude oil and gas, especially after its nuclear plants were closed following the March 2011 disaster in Fukushima, has vastly increased its import bill.

Energy imports have not risen significantly in volume terms over the past year, though they have surged in dollar value due to the weakness of the Japanese yen resulting from a flood of stimulus meant to jolt the economy out of its deflationary doldrums.

The volume of Japan's crude oil imports from the Middle East was up 5 per cent in January from a year earlier, but their cost soared 28 per cent. Food import costs rose 14 per cent.

Exports of electrical machinery, semiconductors and vehicles contributed to the nearly 10 per cent increase in exports. But exports of cars fell 1.4 per cent in volume terms, despite rising 13 per cent in value.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Weekend springtime weather with Doug Speirs - Apr 19

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 070619 LIGHTNING ILLUMINATES AN ABANDONED GRAIN ELEVATOR IN THE VILLAGE OF SANFORD ABOUT 10PM TUESDAY NIGHT AS A LINE OF THUNDERSTORMS PASSED NEAR WINNIPEG JUST TO THE NORTH OF THIS  SITE.
  • MIKE.DEAL@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 100615 - Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 The Mane Attraction - Lions are back at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. Xerxes a 3-year-old male African Lion rests in the shade of a tree in his new enclosure at the old Giant Panda building.  MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What are you most looking forward to this Easter weekend?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google