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Current account surplus logs in at 10-year high

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The current account surplus grew to a 10-year high in 2017 on a record surplus in travel services and higher dividend and interest income from abroad, government data showed on Thursday.

The surplus in the current account, the broadest measure of the country’s earnings from foreign trade and investment, expanded 7.5 percent from the previous year to ¥21,874.2 billion, the second-biggest figure on record after the 2007 peak of ¥24,949 billion, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report.

The deficit in services trade shrank to a record low of ¥706.1 billion, as the surplus in travel services grew to a record high of ¥1,762.6 billion on an increase in the number of foreign tourists to Japan.

The surplus in the primary income account increased 9.1 percent to ¥19,739.7 billion, the second-biggest figure on record following ¥21,018.9 billion in 2015, thanks to growth in dividend and interest income from abroad.

The surplus in goods trade narrowed 10.8 percent to ¥4,930.8 billion.

Exports rose 11.9 percent to ¥77,195.5 billion due to brisk shipments of automobiles and semiconductor-manufacturing equipment. But imports grew at a faster pace of 13.9 percent to ¥72,264.7 billion amid higher crude oil prices.

Drop in December

Meanwhile, the surplus in December fell 28.5 percent from a year before to ¥797.2 billion, the ministry said.

The result came against the median forecast of ¥1,034.5 billion in surplus among 18 economic research institutes surveyed by Jiji Press.

Japan logged a goods and services trade surplus of ¥334.4 billion, down 35.7 percent, the ministry said in a preliminary balance of payments report.

In goods trade, Japan’s surplus totaled ¥538.9 billion, down 33.4 percent. Exports were up 8.8 percent at ¥7,271.5 billion, and imports were up 14.6 percent at ¥6,732.6 billion.

The surplus on the primary income account shrank 10.1 percent to ¥614.8 billion.Speech

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