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Japan sees 1st trade deficit in 8 months in January

Japan's trade balance yielded a deficit of ¥943.42 billion in January, provisional data from the Ministry of Finance showed.

This marks the country's first trade deficit in eight months, Reuters reported, and follows the trade surplus of ¥359.0 billion in December 2017.

Exports in January rose 12.2% to ¥6.086 trillion from the same period last year, while imports climbed an annual 7.9% to ¥7.029 trillion.

January exports to China, Japan's top trading partner, was up 30.8% year over year to ¥1.160 trillion. Top exports were semiconductor production equipment, car engines and hybrid cars, Reuters reported. Imports from China slipped 3.3%.

Shipments to Asia in January, which account for more than half of Japan's exports, rose an annual 16.0% to ¥3.350 trillion, while imports from the region grew 3.0% year over year.

Exports to the U.S., Japan's second-biggest trading partner, was up 1.2% to ¥1.067 trillion from the year-ago period, while imports from the country climbed 9.4% to ¥716.97 billion. Japan's trade surplus with the U.S. fell an annual 12.3% in January.

As of Feb. 16, US$1 was equivalent to ¥106.01.