Japan's trade deficit hits record high Y11.47 tril in 2013
Japan’s trade deficit swelled to a record 11.47 trillion yen in 2013, official data showed Monday, as the benefits of a cheap yen for exports were diluted by soaring post-Fukushima energy bills.
The shortfall marked the biggest deficit since comparable data started in 1979, according to the finance ministry, with the December deficit alone doubling from a year earlier.
Japanese energy imports surged after the 2011 Fukushima crisis forced the shutdown of nuclear reactors that once supplied a third of the nation’s power.
A sharp decline in the yen, which is good for exporters’ profitability, also forced up the cost of importing pricey fossil-fuels to plug the country’s energy gap.
The yen has been under pressure since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who took office in late 2012, launched a policy blitz that meshed government spending with a huge program of central bank monetary easing.
The growth plan, dubbed Abenomics, is aimed at kickstarting the world’s third-largest economy, which has been plagued by deflation for years.