Japan posts first annual trade deficit in 31 years in 2011

January 25th, 2012 - 2:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Tokyo, Jan 25 (IANS) Japan posted its first annual trade deficit since 1980, due to the affects of the March earthquake and tsunami and the yen’s appreciation versus its major counterparts, data from the Ministry of Finance showed Wednesday.

According to the ministry, the trade deficit stood at 2.49 trillion yen ($32 billion) in 2011, marking the first annual deficit in 31 years.

The value of exports dropped 2.7 percent during the year, totaling 65.55 trillion yen, with the finance ministry noting that the eurozone sovereign debt crisis, coupled with the yen’s appreciation and a slowdown in overseas economies, contributed to the decline. The March disasters impacted key supply chains and hampered the nation’s key export sector.

The ministry’s data also showed that imports gained 12.0 percent to 68.05 trillion yen ($875 billion) in 2011, reported Xinhua.

According to the preliminary report, the government said there was a 205.1 billion yen trade deficit for December alone, exceeding consensus forecast for a 150.5 billion yen gap.

The ministry added that exports for December dropped 8.0 percent from a year earlier, marking the third straight month of decline and falling more than market forecast of a 7.5 percent retreat in the recording month.

Imports jumped 8.1 percent in December year-on-year, slightly higher than median forecast for a 8.0 percent gain, the ministry’s data showed.

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