Japan still world's top creditor at end of 2019


Japan remained the world’s largest creditor at the end of 2019, with the net balance of external assets held by its government, companies and individual investors hitting a record ¥364.53 trillion ($3.40 trillion), the Finance Ministry said Tuesday.

The figure, up 6.8 percent from a year earlier and the highest since comparable data became available in 1996, reflected increased direct investments abroad by Japanese firms and a rise in prices of foreign stocks held by domestic investors.

Japan was the world’s largest holder of overseas net assets for the 29th consecutive year, the ministry said.

A ministry official refrained from presenting an outlook for the possible impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the 2020 balance.

In the reporting year, Germany had the world’s second-largest net external assets, with ¥299.83 trillion at the end of 2019, followed by China with ¥231.77 trillion. The United States was the biggest net external debt holder with ¥1.199 quadrillion, according to the ministry.

Total Japanese external assets increased 7.8 percent to a record ¥1.098 quadrillion for the 11th straight year of gains.

Japanese direct investment in the United States stood at a record ¥58.20 trillion, and that in China was also the largest on record at ¥14.22 trillion.

Japanese overseas liabilities rose 8.4 percent to a record ¥733.21 trillion amid an increase in the volume and value of Japanese securities held by foreign investors.

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