Japan Data

Japan Sets New Record for Monthly Trade Deficit in January


Japan has had a trade deficit for 18 consecutive months, and January 2023 saw the highest deficit on record for a single month with ¥3.5 trillion.

According to the trade statistics for January 2023, announced by the Ministry of Finance, Japan posted a deficit of ¥3.5 trillion, which is the largest monthly deficit since comparative statistics first became available in 1979. While the value of imports increased due to the weak yen and rising resource prices, exports to China stagnated. This is the eighteenth consecutive month that Japan has recorded a trade deficit.

The total import value for January was a record high, with a year-on-year increase of 17.8% to ¥10.0 trillion. Energy-related items, such as coal, liquefied natural gas, and crude oil, were the main factor behind the rise in imports.

Meanwhile, the total export value for the same month rose by 3.5% to ¥6.6 trillion. This was also the highest ever seen for the month of January. However, it was the fourth consecutive month that growth has slowed, due mainly to a 17.1% year-on-year drop in exports to China. In 2022, the Lunar New Year, a major holiday period in China, was celebrated on January 22, by contrast with February 1 in 2021. The continuing COVID-19 pandemic in China is also thought to have had an impact. While sales of automobiles and diesel oil grew, there was a decrease in sales of automobile parts, semiconductor manufacturing equipment, and plastic.

Japan’s Balance of International Trade

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

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