Japan posts record account deficit in December

Japan posted a current account deficit of 638.6 billion yen (US$6.25 billion) for December.

Japan posted a current account deficit of 638.6 billion yen (US$6.25 billion) for December.

TOKYO - Japan posted a current account deficit of 638.6 billion yen (US$6.25 billion) for December, Japan´s Ministry of Finance data showed on Monday.

The exports rose 9.5 percent to $680.9 billion in 2013, while imports jumped 15 percent to $793.2 billion. Japan's trade deficit in 2012 was $77 billion.

Japan's trade deficit increased due to the increasing cost of energy imports after the shutdown of nuclear power plants, according to the Ministry of Finance.

The trade deficit has been rising as costs for energy imports have surged with the weakening of the Japanese yen along with increased purchases of foreign oil and gas.

Japan's nuclear reactors, that once supplied a third of the nation´s power, have been offline for safety and regulatory checks after the March 2011 earthquake and with the tsunami which devastated the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Japan's deficit with China, its biggest trading partner, rose more than 43 percent in 2013 to $49 billion. With the US, Japan's surplus increased by 20 percent reaching $59.5 billion.

The Japanese currency fell more than 20 percent against the US dollar since 2013.

On the other hand, the weaker yen is boosting corporate profits due to higher yen-denominated income for companies that earn a large share of their revenues overseas.

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