Japan posts monthly record trade deficit

Japan posted a monthly record trade deficit of $27.3 billion in January, data showed Thursday, as a weak yen pushed up post-Fukushima energy costs, despite upbeat exports to the US, China and Europe.

The country's trade deficit ballooned to 2.79 trillion yen ($27.3 billion), up 70.8 percent from a year earlier, the finance ministry said.

The growing imbalance was stoked by a 25 percent jump in imports to a record 8.04 trillion yen on soaring bills for oil and gas purchases, after Japan shuttered its nuclear reactors.

Exports rose 9.5 percent to 5.25 trillion yen, partly driven by a jump in shipments of vehicles.

The figures marked the latest batch of worrying news for Japan after the country's sizzling GDP growth slowed to a crawl in the fourth-quarter of last year, and as it posted a record trade deficit through 2013.

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