Japan trade deficit widens as imports surge

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Associated Press

Posted on November 19, 2013 at 9:06 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 20 at 12:02 AM

TOKYO (AP) — Japan says its trade deficit nearly doubled in October, as growth in imports outpaced robust increases in exports to the U.S. and China.

The Finance Ministry reported Wednesday that the deficit rose 96 percent to 1.09 trillion yen ($10.9 billion), as imports surged 26 percent to 7.2 trillion yen ($72 billion), while exports climbed nearly 19 percent to 6.1 trillion yen ($61 billion).

It was the 16th straight month of deficits, due partly to high costs for importing oil and natural gas to help offset the loss of generation capacity from nuclear plants idled after meltdowns in 2011 at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant.

A weakening in the Japanese yen over the past year has helped exports, but it has also increased the cost in yen terms for imports.

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