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Japan Has Y1,302.11 Billion Trade Deficit In December

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Japan posted a merchandise trade deficit of 1,302.11 billion yen in December, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday - sliding into the red for the 17th consecutive month.

The headline figure missed expectations for a shortfall of 1,280.0 billion yen after showing a downwardly revised 1,294.1 billion yen deficit in November (originally 1,292.9 billion yen).

Exports were up 15.3 percent on year to 6,110.5 billion yen, also shy of forecasts for 18.0 percent after climbing 18.4 percent in the previous month.

Exports to China spiked 34.4 percent on year to 1,216.54 billion yen, while exports to all of Asia were up 16.0 percent on year to 3,359.32 billion yen.

Exports to the United States climbed 13.0 percent on year to 1,130.09 billion yen, while exports to the European Union spiked an annual 23.0 percent to 672.347 billion yen.

Imports surged an annual 24.7 percent to 7,412.6 billion yen versus expectations for 26.2 percent following the 21.1 percent annual jump a month earlier.

Imports from Asia spiked 23.0 percent on year to 3,229.98 billion yen, while imports from China alone surged an annual 29.2 percent to 1,600.01 billion yen.

Imports from the United States jumped 12.1 percent on year to 538.484 billion yen, while imports from the European Union surged 33.2 percent to 696.977 billion yen.

The adjusted trade balance registered a deficit of 1,148.6 billion yen, beating forecasts for a shortfall of 1,335.1 billion yen following the upwardly revised 1,293.8 billion yen deficit in November.

For the fourth quarter of 2013, Japan posted a trade deficit of 3,692.86 billion yen as exports jumped 17.4 percent on year to 18,115.29 billion yen and imports spiked 24.0 percent to 21,808.16 billion yen.

For the second half of 2013, Japan's trade shortfall was 6,627.99 billion yen as exports gained 15.0 percent on year to 35,830.64 billion yen while imports surged an annual 20.7 percent to 42,458.63 billion yen.

For all of 2013, Japan saw a trade deficit of 11,474.51 billion yen as exports gained 9.5 percent to 69,787.657 billion yen and imports climbed 15.0 percent to 81,262.175 billion yen.

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