News Summary: Japan posts record January trade gap

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RECORD DEFICIT: Japan posted a record 1.63 trillion yen ($17.4 billion) trade deficit in January.

ENERGY COSTS: Exports are rebounding but they lagged behind the increased cost of Japan's imports of crude oil and gas due to rising prices and the weakening yen.

YEN IMPACT: A weakening in Japan's currency over the past few months has helped boost exports by making its products more price-competitive overseas. But it has also inflated the value of resource-scarce Japan's imports of crude oil and other commodities, which offset a recovery in demand for Japanese-made vehicles and machinery.