Mon Jan 26, 2015 5:55AM
Figures show Japan's trade deficit grew to a record high in 2014. (File photo)
Figures show Japan's trade deficit grew to a record high in 2014. (File photo)

Recently released figures show that Japan’s annual trade deficit in 2014 rose for a third consecutive year to the highest rate since 1979.

According to preliminary data from the Japanese Finance Ministry released on Monday, the Japanese trade deficit in 2014 rose by 11.4 percent from the 11.5 trillion yen ($97.7 billion) in 2013 to a record 12.8 trillion yen ($109 billion).

The figures show that Japanese exports grew by 4.8 percent to 73.1 trillion yen ($620 billion) last year, while imports also went up by 5.7 percent to 85.9 trillion yen ($763.7 billion).

Last December, Japan’s trade deficit almost halved compared to the previous year, mostly as a result of falling global oil prices, which have plummeted by more than 50 percent since last June.

Analysts say fuel costs have pressured Japan as its economy has been struggling to recover from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in the country, which forced the closure of the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Figures last November suggested Japan had fellen back into recession after coming out of one in 2012.

Following a surge in fossil-fuel imports in 2011, Japan’s trade balance turned negative for the first time in nearly three decades.

SZH/HJL/HRB