Japan posted a customs-cleared trade deficit of 348.9 billion yen in January, the first monthly deficit in five years and the largest in 23 years, the Finance Ministry said Thursday.

The deficit — the biggest since 409.8 billion yen was logged in January 1983 — stemmed from higher oil prices, which inflated the value of imports, and shrinking exports by domestic manufacturers during the New Year holidays, ministry officials and economists said.

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