Current account surplus down 5.9%

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The country’s current account surplus in May fell 5.9 percent from a year before to ¥1,653.9 billion, down for the first time in four months, the Ministry of Finance said Monday.

The result fell short of a median forecast of ¥1,799.9 billion in surplus among 20 economic research institutes polled by Jiji Press.

The year-on-year drop in May came as Japan incurred a deficit of ¥115.1 billion in goods trade, against the year-before surplus of ¥30.8 billion, on the back of a surge in resources prices that pushed up the value of the country’s imports, according to the balance of payments data.

Meanwhile, the surplus in the travel account totaled ¥127.2 billion, the highest level for May, thanks to an increase in foreign visitors to Japan. Demand for travel to Japan, chiefly by South Koreans, rose back after slumping a year before because of powerful earthquakes that hit Kumamoto Prefecture and surrounding areas in April 2016.

Japan’s goods imports jumped 15.8 percent to ¥5,829.7 billion due chiefly to higher crude oil prices reflecting a production cut agreed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Prices of liquefied natural gas and coal also went up.

Exports grew 12.9 percent to ¥5,714.5 billion, up for the sixth straight month, led by brisk shipments of automobiles and steel mainly to other parts of Asia.

In services trade, Japan posted a surplus of ¥42.1 billion, but the result was down sharply from the year-before surplus of ¥81.9 billion. Despite the higher travel account surplus, there was a drop in royalty income on intellectual property rights from abroad.Speech

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