TOKYO: Japan recorded a trade surplus of $1.18 billion in December, indicating a return to a positive balance for the country after posting a deficit in November, the government announced Monday.
The surplus contrasts with the $5.62 billion deficit of December 2014, and also with the $3.22 billion negative balance of November last year. Japanese exports fell by eight percent year-on-year to $53.49 billion, according to data released by the finance ministry.
Meanwhile, imports dropped 18 percent to $52.29 billion, with hydrocarbons, worth $11.57 billion, accounting for nearly one-fourth – 22.1 percent – of the total, although it represented 43.3 percent less year-on-year.
Fuel imports to generate electricity in thermal power plants to compensate for the closure of nuclear reactors following the 2011 Fukushima disaster continues to weigh heavily on the Asian nation’s trade scales. Trade deficit with China, Japan’s largest trading partner, rose to $3.39 billion – a decrease of 9.7 percent from 2014.
With the world’s leading economy, and Japan’s second largest trading partner, the U.S, the country recorded a positive balance of $6.39 billion – up 2.7 percent from the previous year. With the European Union, Japan’s third largest partner, the country posted a $98.5 million deficit, compared to the $285 million surplus of a year before.
In terms of trade with Brazil, the world’s eighth biggest economy, Japan had a $429 million negative balance, a rise of 39.8 percent. With Chile, the country’s negative balance increased to $254 million – a year-on-year drop of 58.1 percent –, while with Mexico, it registered a surplus in December worth $489 million, though it showed a drop of 23.7 percent from that of December 2014.