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Japan posts record $17.4B monthly trade deficit in January as rise in imports outpaces exports

Japan's Finance Ministry says a rebound in exports in January failed to keep pace with growth in imports, leaving a record 1.63 trillion yen ($17.4B) trade deficit.

The provisional data released Wednesday show exports rose 6.4 percent to 4.8 trillion yen ($51.2 billion) in January from a year earlier while imports jumped 7.3 percent to 6.43 trillion yen ($68.6 billion.

Trade with the United States and major Asian trading partners rose as the global recovery strengthened and the economic impact of friction with China over a territorial dispute appeared to recede. But trade with European countries remained weak.

Japan's exports were bolstered by strong demand for vehicles, but that was offset by climbing imports of fuel, which account for over a third of the value of Japan's total imports.