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Japan trade deficit hits $8.6bn in April

22 May 2013, 14:31

Tokyo - Japan's trade deficit expanded a worse-than-expected 70% on year to $8.6bn in April, government data showed Wednesday, as a weaker yen made imports costlier.

The monthly trade deficit came to ¥879.9bn ($8.6bn), 69.7% higher than the year-before deficit of ¥518.4bn, finance ministry data showed.

The deficit was the biggest for the month of April in comparable official data that goes back to 1979 and was also worse than a shortfall of ¥620bn economists predicted on average in a poll by the Nikkei business daily.

Exports in April rose 3.8% to ¥5.78 trillion while imports jumped 9.4% to ¥6.66 trillion.

The yen's average rate was 96.01 to the dollar in April against 82.31 in April 2012, meaning the value of the Japanese currency fell by nearly 17% on year, the data showed.

A lower yen helps Japanese exporters but pushes up import bills.

Higher import costs have been resulting in higher materials and parts prices, which are leading to higher retail prices of various items ranging from foodstuff to laptops.

With the yen hitting multi-year lows against the dollar, some politicians have started voicing concerns over its negative impact on people's lives.

Japan's fuel imports have also stayed high as most of its nuclear reactors remain off-line since the huge earthquake and tsunami in 2011 sparked the world's worst atomic accident in a generation. 


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