Japan has posted its biggest-ever current account deficit for a single month. This was due to a combination of surging fuel prices and weak exports to China during the Lunar New Year holiday.
The Finance Ministry said on Wednesday the current account deficit in January was almost 2 trillion yen, or about 14 billion dollars. The figure is the largest since comparable data became available in 1985. It's the first deficit in three months and 3.4 times the amount from January last year in yen terms.
The current account is a measure of Japan's trade and investment with the rest of the world.
Officials say a surge in energy costs contributed to a trade deficit of about 23 billion dollars. The rise is due to higher prices of coal, liquefied natural gas and crude oil, as well as a weak yen.
Meanwhile, the primary income surplus grew from a year ago to about 16 billion dollars. This was a record high for January. The account records dividends and income from interest on overseas securities investments.