TOKYO – Japan's trade deficit surged 65 percent in 2013 to a record 11.47 trillion yen ($112 billion), as rising costs for imports outstripped growth in exports.
Provisional data show exports rose 9.5 percent to 69.8 trillion yen ($680.9 billion), while imports jumped 15 percent to 81.3 trillion yen ($793.2 billion).
Japan's trade deficit in 2012 was 6.94 trillion yen. The deficit has been rising as costs for imports have surged with the weakening of the Japanese yen and increased purchases of foreign oil and gas to make up for the loss of nuclear power following the disaster in Fukushima due to the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
December's deficit was 1.3 trillion yen ($12.7 billion).
The worse-than-expected trade data coincided with a flurry of selling on Tokyo Stock Exchange, where the benchmark Nikkei 225 tumbled 2.8 percent, dropping below 15,000 for the first time in two months following last week's selloffs in Europe and the U.S.
Japanese share prices tend to rise when the yen weakens since a cheaper yen can boost profits for exporters. But the yen, which had been trading above 104 to the U.S. dollar, had strengthened to about 102 to the dollar early Monday, driven higher by worries over emerging market currencies.