Japan’s account surplus jumps 75pc in November

TOKYO (XINHUA) – Japan’s current account surplus surged 75.0 per cent in November on year owing to a slump in imports amid a drop in prices for crude oil and petroleum product prices, the government said in a report yesterday.

Japan logged a current account surplus of JPY1.44 trillion (USD13 billion), in the recording period, marking the 65th successive month the current account has been in surplus, the Finance Ministry said.

The ministry also said in its preliminary report that the country’s goods trade deficit dropped 99.5 per cent from a year earlier to JPY2.5 billion (USD22.7 million) in the reporting period.

Exports fell 10.2 per cent to JPY6.24 trillion (USD56.7 billion), owing in part to a decline in demand from the United States (US), while imports tumbled 16.6 per cent to JPY6.25 trillion (USD56.8 billion), amid a decline in crude oil and petroleum product prices.

Services trade, meanwhile, tripled to stand at a surplus of JPY163 billion (USD1.4 billion), in the reporting period, the ministry said.

Japan’s primary income, which reflects returns on investments made overseas, logged a surplus of JPY1.46 trillion (USD13.2 billion), the government’s figures also showed. Japan’s current account surplus is one of the broadest measures of its trade with the rest of the world.

The data is keenly eyed by the Bank of Japan and the finance ministry ahead of new potential policy changes or monetary easing or tapering measures.

In Japan, the current account surplus increases the nation’s net foreign assets by the corresponding amount, and a current account deficit does the reverse.

Both the Japanese government and private payments are included in the calculation and it is called the current account because goods and services are generally consumed in the current period.