Thursday, 20 February 2014

Japan's trade deficit hits record, US housing starts plunge

Japan's trade deficit widened to yet another record in January.

A report on Thursday showed that the deficit hit 2.79 trillion yen last month as exports rose 9.5 percent from a year ago while imports surged 25.0 percent.

Energy was the main driver of the surge in imports. Crude oil imports rose 28.1 percent from a year earlier while imports of liquefied natural gas increased 21.4 percent.

Meanwhile, in the US, Wednesday had brought more bad news for the housing sector.

Housing starts fell 16 percent in January, the biggest decline since February 2011. The fall was mainly attributed to bad weather.

Building permits fell 5.4 percent.

Another report from the US on Wednesday showed that producer prices rose 0.2 percent in January.

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