Japan Logs Record Trade Deficit in 2022

REUTERS file photo
A laborer works in a container area at a port in Tokyo, Japan July 19, 2017. Picture taken July 19, 2017.

Tokyo, Jan. 19 (Jiji Press)—Japan posted a record customs-cleared trade deficit of ¥19,971.3 billion in 2022 as soaring commodity prices and a weaker yen drove imports sharply higher, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report Thursday.

The deficit grew sharply from ¥1,783.6 billion in the previous year as imports climbed 39.2 pct to ¥118,157.3 billion, topping ¥100 trillion for the first time.

Imports of crude oil, coal and liquefied natural gas grew as their prices rose due mainly to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Crude oil prices rose 76.5 pct to a record high of ¥84,728 per kiloliter, and 47.6 pct in dollar terms.

The yen’s depreciation against the dollar due to the widening difference between Japanese and U.S. interest rates also contributed to the climb in imports. The dollar was at around ¥130 on average in 2022, compared with ¥109 in the previous year.

Exports expanded 18.2 pct to a record high of ¥98,186 billion thanks to strong shipments of automobiles and steel products.

In trade with Russia, Japan logged a deficit of ¥1,352.3 billion, as automobile exports shrank while LNG imports climbed.

Japan logged a deficit of ¥5,827.1 billion in trade with China and a surplus of ¥6,535.6 billion with the United States.

In December alone, Japan logged a trade deficit of ¥1,448.5 billion, the largest ever for the month. The country posted a deficit for the 17th straight month.

Exports to China fell 6.2 pct from a year before to ¥1,617.8 billion, the first decline in seven months, as shipments of automobiles and semiconductor-related goods dropped possibly due to a surge in COVID-19 infections.