Japan posted a record current account surplus of ¥1.93 trillion in November, helped by a smaller trade deficit and the revival of inbound tourism, the Finance Ministry said Friday.

The current account surplus, one of the widest gauges of international trade, expanded 8.7% from a year earlier, marking the 10th straight month of black ink.

Japan's trade deficit more than halved to ¥724.1 billion as imports fell more than exports. With the value of energy imports sharply down, overall imports fell 11.4% to ¥9.35 trillion, while exports slipped 4.5% to ¥8.62 trillion.

The services balance swung back into the black, standing at ¥24.7 billion due to increased spending by foreign visitors to Japan.

Japan's travel surplus grew over 1.8 times to ¥296 billion, meaning spending by foreign travelers to Japan far exceeded the amount spent by Japanese overseas.

The number of foreign visitors to Japan was 2.6 times higher at 2.44 million in November, according to the government.

The return of foreign tourists is a boon to Japan amid the yen's persistent weakness, which has inflated import costs for energy and raw materials for the resource-scarce nation, leading to massive trade deficits.

A weaker yen also boosts the overseas profits from Japanese exports, but outbound shipments fell for the first time in three months in November.

Weak exports point to slowing overseas economies after interest rates in the United States and Europe were hiked aggressively to curb surging inflation by cooling demand, analysts say.

Primary income, which reflects returns on overseas investments, however, dropped 20.3% to ¥2.89 trillion.

A decline in dividend payments in the shipping sector compared with a year earlier offset higher income from rising overseas bond yields, according to the ministry.

Comparable data became available in 1985.