Account surplus hits 10-year high

Jiji PressTOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan’s current account surplus in April-September hit the highest level in 10 years, thanks to an increase in dividend income from overseas subsidiaries on the back of the brisk global economy, Ministry of Finance data showed Thursday.

The surplus grew 11.7 percent from the same period last year to ¥11,533.9 billion, surpassing ¥10 trillion for three half-year periods in a row.

The black ink in the current account, the broadest measure of the nation’s trade with the rest of the world, covering goods, services and investment flows, was the largest on a fiscal first-half basis since fiscal 2007, before the global financial crisis triggered by the 2008 collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers.

The surplus in the primary income account increased 12.4 percent to ¥10,382.3 billion, the second-largest on record on a semiannual basis, due to growth in dividend receipts from overseas subsidiaries and interest income on bond investments abroad.

The uptrend “is expected to continue for a while,” a MOF official said.

Japan’s goods trade surplus fell 9.3 percent to ¥2,686.9 billion as imports grew faster than exports due in part to higher resources prices.

In services trade, including travel and transportation, Japan suffered a deficit of ¥576.4 billion, an improvement from the year-earlier deficit of ¥834.6 billion. The surplus in the travel account stood at ¥842.9 billion, a record high on a semiannual basis, reflecting a rise in the number of tourists from China and South Korea.

In September alone, Japan’s current account surplus surged 21.8 percent from a year before to ¥2,271.2 billion, the 39th consecutive month of black ink, the ministry also said.Speech

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