Japan posted its first trade deficit in 22 months in January as the cost of oil drove up imports. The deficit with the rest of the world amounted to $5.7 billion, according to preliminary figures released by the Finance Ministry on Wednesday.
But the country’s trade surplus with the U.S. increased for the second consecutive month. Japan's imports from the U.S. dropped 1.9 percent to $5.6 billion, widening the trade surplus 21.7 percent to $3.5 billion.
Japan's exports to the U.S. rose for the 13th successive month on a year-on-year basis in January, increasing 6 percent to $9.1 billion.
By The Numbers: U.S. Trade with Japan
Japan's overall imports grew for the 13th consecutive month on a year-on-year basis in January, increasing 12.4 percent to $65.6 billion.
Crude oil imports rose 3.6 percent in terms of volume, but grew at a faster pace of 10.6 percent in terms of value due to higher prices, accounting for 16.9 percent of the nation's overall imports.
Overall exports also grew for the 14th straight month but at a much slower pace of 1.4 percent, totaling $59.9 billion.
The rise in Japan's overall exports was led by mineral fuels, steel, and construction and mining machinery.
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