ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailMenu BurgerPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon SearchSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Economy

Japan's trade falls into red for 1st time in 3 years

Deficit tops 55.3bn yen in December as exports fall 3.8% on year

New cars await export at a port in Yokohama, Japan.

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan logged a goods trade deficit of 1.20 trillion yen ($11 billion) in 2018, government data showed Wednesday, the first red ink in three years as the cost of energy imports surged.

Imports rose 9.7 percent from a year earlier to 82.69 trillion yen, outpacing a 4.1 percent increase in exports to 81.49 trillion yen.

Exports have been a major component of the Japanese economy's current expansion cycle, which is likely to be the longest since the end of World War II.

But demand has waned in recent months amid heightened trade friction between the United States and China. Nidec Corp., a maker of electric motors, last week warned investors that it expects a fall in profit for the year ending in March due to uncertainty stemming from the trade tensions.

Meanwhile, imports of energy-related items such as liquefied natural gas and kerosene were pushed up by an increase in global oil prices, with crude oil imports surging 24.5 percent to 8.91 trillion yen last year.

By region, Japan ran a deficit of 3.28 trillion yen against China, its largest trading partner. The margin of red ink shrank for the third consecutive year, however, as exports grew to a record high on demand for equipment used to manufacture semiconductors.

Against all of Asia, Japan saw a surplus of 5.54 trillion yen.

Japan had a surplus of 6.45 trillion yen against the United States, a smaller margin than the previous year amid falling automobile exports and a rise in aircraft imports.

With Europe, Japan logged a deficit of 487.5 billion yen with imports of medicine from Ireland contributing.

For December, Japan logged a goods trade deficit of 55.3 billion yen, according to a preliminary report by the Finance Ministry. Exports fell 3.8 percent, their steepest fall since October 2016, to 7.02 trillion yen while imports grew 1.9 percent to 7.08 trillion yen.

The figures were compiled on a customs-cleared basis.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Get Unlimited access

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends April 19th

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media