Japan marks biggest Feb. trade deficit

Japan has posted its biggest-ever trade deficit for February as soaring energy prices pushed up the value of imports.

The Finance Ministry says the deficit last month was 897.7 billion yen, or about 6.7 billion dollars. It was the largest deficit for February since comparable data became available in 1979.

Japan's trade balance has now been in the red for 19 straight months.

The value of imports rose by over 8 percent in yen terms from a year earlier. The rise is due to higher prices of coal, liquefied natural gas and crude oil, as well as a weaker yen.

Exports were up 6.5 percent. That was due to an increase in automobile shipments.