Japan: 2013 record trade deficit driven by soaring fuel purchases
January 27, 2014
In December, nominal yen exports rose 15.3% over the same month of the previous year, which was below the 18.4% increase recorded in November. The expansion undershot the 18.0% increase that market analysts had expected. In the full year 2013, exports expanded 9.5%, which contrasted the 2.7% drop recorded in 2012.
Imports climbed 24.7% in annual terms in December, following the strong 21.1% increase recorded in November. The expansion was slightly below the 26.0% increase that market analysts had expected. In the full year 2013, imports jumped 15.0%, which was well above the 3.8% expansion tallied in 2012.
The trade balance registered a JPY 1.3 trillion deficit (USD 12.6 billion) in December, which was in line with the JPY 1.3 trillion shortfall tallied in the previous month, but exceeded the JPY 646 billion deficit recorded in the same month of the previous year.
In the full year 2013, the trade deficit widened from the JPY 6.9 trillion recorded in 2012 to JPY 11.5 trillion, which is the largest trade shortfall on record. The trade deficit soared in 2013 on the back of higher fuel purchases resulting from the continued shutdown of nuclear plants after the Tohoku earthquake of March 2011.