AP

Japan racks up trade deficit as exports, imports hit records

Nov 16, 2022, 6:28 PM | Updated: 6:31 pm

TOKYO (AP) — Japan marked a trade deficit for the 15th month in a row in October, as both imports and exports reached record highs amid the soaring costs of energy and food and a drooping yen.

The deficit, at 2.16 trillion yen ($15 billion), was the highest for the month of October since comparable data was first compiled in 1979, the Finance Ministry said Thursday.

The huge deficit came despite a solid growth in exports, which rose 25.3% last month to 9 trillion yen ($64 billion) from a year ago. Among the products boosting exports were vehicles, medical products and electrical machinery, according to the ministry.

Imports totaled 11 trillion yen ($79 billion), surging 53.5% from the previous year. Japan is dependent on both energy and food imports at a time when inflation pressures have been rising globally.

Japan’s trade balance has fluctuated in recent years partly because of disruptions to production and other problems related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Also critical to the rising cost of imports is the declining value of the Japanese currency. The U.S. dollar, trading at about 110 yen a year ago, has risen lately to nearly 150 yen. The drop has eased in recent weeks, with the dollar now trading at about 140 yen.

By nation, October exports grew to the U.S., as well as to Asia, particularly Indonesia, Vietnam and South Korea. Imports grew from those nations as well, but also from Taiwan, Malaysia and Germany. Imports from the Middle East soared 87%.

The war in Ukraine and other global factors have set off the recent steep rise in energy costs. Japan imports almost all its oil.

The weak yen tends to work as a boon for Japan’s giant exporters, like Toyota and Nintendo, by raising the value of overseas earnings when converted in yen. But such perks often aren’t enough to counter the rising costs of components, energy, raw materials and other goods.

Lower interest rates tend to send that nation’s currency lower against those nations with higher interest rates. The Bank of Japan has maintained a negative interest rate policy, to keep economic activity going, while the U.S. Federal Reserve has repeatedly tightened monetary policy to combat growing inflation pressures.

But the cheap yen is almost certain to be a plus for tourism, a key revenue for the world’s third largest economy. After basically closing borders to tourists over worries about COVID-19 infections, Japan has now switched to welcoming them.

___

Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Washington. The U.S. Supreme Court has h...

Associated Press

Supreme Court decision on Trump’s election status could come Monday morning

A SCOTUS decision could come Monday in the case about whether Trump can be kicked off the ballot over his efforts to undo his 2020 defeat.

4 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley poses for a selfie after speakin...

Associated Press

Nikki Haley wins D.C. Republican primary, her first 2024 victory

Nikki Haley has won the Republican primary in the District of Columbia, notching her first victory of the 2024 campaign.

4 hours ago

An Apache group that has fought to protect land it considers sacred from a copper mining project in...

Associated Press

A US appeals court ruling could allow mine development in central Arizona on land sacred to Apaches

An Apache group that has fought to protect land from a copper mining project in central Arizona suffered a significant blow.

9 hours ago

On Friday, March 1, 2024, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said yogurt sold in the U.S. can ma...

Associated Press

Eating yogurt may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, FDA says

Eating at least two cups of yogurt a week might reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

11 hours ago

Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Associated Press

Arizona Senate passes plan to manage rural groundwater, but final success is uncertain

A plan to manage rural groundwater passed the Arizona Senate amid concerns about the availability of sufficient water for future generations.

2 days ago

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Japan racks up trade deficit as exports, imports hit records