Japan reports record $78.3B trade deficit in 2012

Posted at 7:51 PM, Jan 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-23 19:51:00-05

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's trade deficit in 2012 rose to a record 6.93 trillion yen ($78.3 billion), as fuel imports surged and a bitter territorial dispute with China hammered its exports.

The provisional figures reported by the Finance Ministry on Thursday showed the trade deficit narrowed, however, in December, to 641.5 billion yen ($7.25 billion) from the 954.8 billion yen shortfall in November. That's despite a 5.8 percent drop in exports for the month.

December was the sixth straight month of deficits. Exports have suffered from plunging demand in crisis-stricken Europe and troubles with China after a flare-up over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea prompted anti-Japanese protests last fall.

The annual trade deficit was a 170 percent increase from the deficit of 2.56 trillion yen recorded in 2011.