Japanese exports rose 15.3 percent in December but imports outpaced shipments due to a weak yen and subsequent higher fuel import costs, resulting in a record trade deficit for 2013, Ministry of Finance data showed on Monday.
The rise in exports compared with the median estimate of a 17.8 percent increase in a Reuters poll of economists and followed an 18.4 percent gain in November. It marks a 10th straight month of gains helped by a weak yen and car shipments. Imports rose 24.7 percent year-on-year in December, compared with an expected rise of 26.1 percent, due to the weak currency and a rise in demand for fossil fuels to make up for nuclear energy lost since the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
As a result, the country’s trade balance stood at a deficit of 1.3 trillion yen ($12.7 billion) in December, against a 1.2225 trillion yen deficit expected by analysts, posting a record 18 straight months of deficits. For 2013, Japan logged a record annual trade gap of 11.47 trillion yen, widening from 6.94 trillion yen in the previous year and marking a third straight year of deficit, the longest run on record, dating back to 1979. ($1 = 102.3550 Japanese yen)
This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities. Opinions are the authors; not necessarily that of OANDA Corporation or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, officers or directors. Leveraged trading is high risk and not suitable for all. You could lose all of your deposited funds.