Tokyo, Oct. 20 (Jiji Press)–Japan posted a customs-cleared trade deficit of 389.8 billion yen in April-September, as crude oil imports jumped due to the yen’s weakening and an oil price surge, government data showed Wednesday.
The deficit, down 67.6 pct from a year before, came after the country logged a surplus of 2,501.1 billion yen in the previous six-month period through March this year.
In the April-September first half of fiscal 2021, Japan’s exports grew 34.2 pct to 41,464.8 billion yen, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report.
Imports rose 30.3 pct to 41,854.6 billion yen. Crude oil imports surged 103 pct to 3,389.3 billion yen, the first increase since the second half of fiscal 2018.
In trade with the United States, Japan logged a surplus of 2,920.2 billion yen for the first half of fiscal 2021 thanks to strong exports of automobiles and auto parts.
In trade with mainland China, Japan posted a deficit of 967.5 billion yen, reflecting growth in imports of smartphones and nonferrous metals.
In September alone, Japan logged a deficit of 622.8 billion yen, against the 667.4-billion-yen surplus a year before, chiefly because of a rise in the value of crude oil imports.
The deficit was bigger the median forecast of 540 billion yen among 19 research institutes surveyed by Jiji Press.
Imports grew 38.6 pct to 7,464 billion yen on rising crude oil prices, highest for September since the 1979 start of comparable data.
Exports rose 13.0 pct to 6,841.2 billion yen, up for the seventh straight month. But the pace of growth slowed as vehicle exports dived 40.3 pct due to production cuts stemming from disrupted parts procurement.
Japan’s exports to the United States fell 3.3 pct to 1,155.5 billion yen, the first drop in seven months, dampened by a decline in vehicle exports.