Japan’s trade deficit with the rest of the world soared more than three-fold to a record in the first part of May as the country’s exports withered in the wake of the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
According to preliminary figures released by the Finance Ministry on Wednesday, Japan incurred a trade deficit of $13.2 billion between May 1 and May 20, up a whopping 224.3 percent from the same 20-day period last year.
It was also the largest amount for the first 20 days of any month since January 1990, the earliest point at which comparable figures are available. The previous record trade deficit of $12.9 billion came in the first three weeks of 2009 amid the global financial crisis.
Imports rose 13.4 percent $47.3 billion, with higher crude oil prices taking a toll
The Finance Ministry is due to release preliminary trade figures for all of May on June 20.