Japan's trade sector started this year with strong indications despite a deficit for the first time in eight months due to rising oil prices and seasonal factors.
Customs data released Monday showed imports increased eight percent from a year earlier to 7.03 trillion yen ($ 66 billion). Exports jumped 12 percent to 6.09 trillion yen ($ 57.1 billion), resulting in a deficit of 943.4 billion yen ($ 8.8 billion).
Exports to China jumped 30 percent from a year earlier.
Oil prices has risen in one year, up from about $ 55 a barrel in January of 2017 to more than $ 70 a barrel last month. As a rare country of natural resources, Japan imports almost all non-renewable energy needs. Oil and gas imports and coal jumped nearly 10 percent in January from a year earlier to 1.6 trillion yen ($ 15 billion).
Japan's trade surplus with the United States fell 12 percent while exports rose slightly to 1.07 trillion yen or $ 1 billion . Increased imports of gas, gasoline, soybeans and machinery helped boost imports by nine percent from a year earlier to 717 billion yen ($ 6.7 billion). [gp]