Japan ran its biggest annual trade deficit of ¥19.97 trillion ($155.27 billion) in 2022, as higher energy and raw material prices along with the yen's precipitous fall boosted import costs, government data showed Thursday, offsetting growth in exports as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic waned.

The value of imports jumped 39.2% to a record ¥118.16 trillion, led by crude oil, coal and liquefied natural gas, while exports grew 18.2% to ¥98.19 trillion, also a record high, due to increased shipments of cars and steel, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report.

The trade deficit for December alone, however, narrowed more than expected in a sign that the impact from the weak yen and high energy costs has begun to soften.