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Monday, January 30, 2023
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    Japan’s 2022 trade deficit hits record on energy costs

    TOKYO (AFP) – Japan logged its largest ever annual trade deficit last year, with the soaring price of energy and raw materials compounded by the dramatic fall of the yen.

    The resource-poor country is heavily dependent on imported fossil fuels, which became sharply more expensive last year, largely due to the invasion of Ukraine.

    In 2022, the value of imports was JPY19.97 trillion (USD155 billion) higher than exports – Japan’s largest ever deficit. Comparable data has been available since 1979.

    The reading also marked a jump from Japan’s previous record trade deficit of JPY12.82 trillion in 2014.

    The yen also hit multi-decade lows against the dollar last year, prompting expensive government interventions to prop up the currency.

    A cargo ship is seen at the international cargo terminal at the port of Tokyo, Japan. PHOTO: AFP

    Driven down by the gap in monetary policy between Japan and other countries, the weaker yen inflated profits for exporters but ramped up the price of imports like energy.

    Executive research fellow at NLI Research Institute Taro Saito said Japan would continue to see large trade deficits in the near term.

    “While exports are expected to slump on the back of a slowing overseas economy, the value of imports should also ease after the yen’s slide takes a breather,” he wrote in a report published after the data’s release.

    “The trade deficit is expected to gradually fall while remaining at a high level.”

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