Tokyo, Aug 8 – Japan recorded the largest current account surplus in the first half of this year since 2007 with reduced imports amid lower crude oil prices and rising revenue from tourism, the government said on Monday.
The current account balance which quantifies the international trade of goods, services and investments in and out of the country, marked a surplus of 10.63 trillion yen ($104 billion) in the period of January to June, up 31.3 per cent from a year earlier, said the Finance Ministry in a preliminary report.
Japan has been highly dependent on energy imports since Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, which led to shutdown of most commercial reactors in the country with heightened safety concerns from the public, Xinhua news agency reported.
Goods trade, a key component of the current account balance, registered a surplus of 2.35 trillion yen in the first six months of this year, compared with a deficit of 375.4 billion yen in the same period of the previous year, according to the report.
The service sector, including passenger transportation and cargo shipping, logged a deficit of 209.9 billion yen in the six-month period, substantially reduced from a deficit of 933.3 billion yen a year before.
In the same period, the country’s travel balance posted a surplus of 775.8 billion yen, the largest since comparable data became available in 1996, thanks to constantly rising number of foreign tourists.
For the single month of June, Japan registered a current account surplus of 974.4 billion yen, a surplus for the 24th month in a row.
Japan’s current account surplus is one of the the broadest measure of its trade with the rest of the world and 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.