TOKYO, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Japan booked a goods trade deficit in 2019, marking the second consecutive year a shortfall has been logged, the government said in report on Thursday.
According to the Finance Ministry, the nation's trade deficit in the recording period stood at 1.64 trillion yen (14.96 billion U.S. dollars), with exports down 5.6 percent to 76.93 trillion yen (702.06 billion U.S. dollars) compared to a 5 percent drop in imports to 78.57 trillion yen (717.10 billion U.S. dollars).
On a regional basis, Japan booked a deficit with China, its largest trading partner, of 3.76 trillion yen (34.31 billion U.S. dollars) in the recording period, with the amount growing for the first time in four years.
The ministry here said that demand for Japanese automobile components and semiconductor-linked equipment from China had declined in the recording period.
In its preliminary report, the ministry also said that with the United States, Japan booked a surplus of 6.63 trillion yen (60.50 billion U.S. dollars), expanding from a year earlier, owing to solid demand for pharmaceutical products and circuit chip-making equipment.
As for Europe, a decline in demand for pharmaceutical products and vessels led to a deficit of 756.37 billion yen (6.90 billion U.S. dollars) in the recording period.
For December alone, Japan's goods trade deficit stood at 152.52 billion yen (1.39 billion U.S. dollars), with exports dropping for the 13th straight month, down 6.3 percent, to stand at 6.58 trillion yen (60.04 billion U.S. dollars).
Imports in the recording month, meanwhile, stood at 6.73 trillion yen (61.41 billion U.S. dollars), dropping 4.9 percent and marking the eighth successive month of decline, the data showed.