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Japan posts first current account deficit in five months

Japan posted its first current account deficit - 399.1 billion yen (US$3.9 billion) - in five months in June as growing imports of fossil fuels inflated the country's trade shortfall.  

TOKYO: Japan posted its first current account deficit in five months in June as growing imports of fossil fuels inflated the country's trade shortfall, government data showed on Friday (Aug 8). The deficit of 399.1 billion yen (US$3.9 billion) reversed a surplus of 377.7 billion yen a year earlier.

The latest current account figure -- the broadest measure of Japan's trade with the rest of the world -- was influenced by an expansion in the country's trade deficit. That measure, a narrower gauge of the health of the economy, also expanded to 537.1 billion yen in June due to growing crude oil imports, reversing a surplus a year earlier, the finance ministry said.

The current account measures not only trade in goods but also services, tourism and returns on foreign investment. Japan's trade deficit has been expanding since 2011 as it turned to pricey fossil fuel imports to plug the energy gap after turning off nuclear reactors in the wake of the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. A sharp deterioration in the yen pushed up the cost of those energy imports.

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