Japan Posts Record Trade Deficit in Jan.

Reuters file photo
Containers are seen at an industrial port in Yokohama on Jan. 16, 2017.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan posted a record trade deficit in January as high commodity prices and a weak yen pushed up imports sharply, the Finance Ministry said Thursday.

The country had a customs-cleared trade deficit of ¥3,496.6 billion in January, the highest level since comparable data became available in 1979, the ministry said in a preliminary report. It was the 18th straight month of deficit.

Imports climbed 17.8 pct from a year before to ¥10,047.8 billion, the highest level for any January, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent prices for coal, liquefied natural gas and crude oil surging.

Export rose 3.5 pct to ¥6,551.2 billion, also the highest for any January, driven by automobile exports to the United States and gas oil shipments to Mexico.

Japan had a trade surplus of ¥280.7 billion with the United States and a deficit of ¥1,423.1 billion with China.