Japan trade deficit falls 58 pct in Jan on lower oil prices

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's trade deficit plunged nearly 60 percent in January from a year before as its import bill for oil and gas dropped thanks to sharply lower crude oil prices.

The deficit of 1.18 trillion yen ($9.9 billion) was in line with forecasts. Exports surged 17 percent from the year before and imports fell 9 percent.

The deficit was nearly 2.8 trillion yen in January 2014.

Japan's long era of trade surpluses ended after its nuclear plants were shut down following the disaster at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant in 2011 and imports of oil and gas jumped to make up for lost generating capacity.

Japan's exports to the U.S. rose 16.5 percent in January while imports fell 1.4 percent, leaving a trade surplus of 545.4 billion yen ($4.6 billion).