Japan logged a current account surplus of ¥438.2 billion ($2.9 billion) in January, returning to the black on record foreign investment returns and a sharp drop in imports, the Finance Ministry said Friday.

The turnaround from a whopping ¥2.01 trillion deficit in January 2023 came as Japan's trade deficit was roughly halved to ¥1.44 trillion. A revival of inbound tourism led to a record travel surplus of ¥415.9 billion.

Primary income, which reflects returns on overseas investments, marked a surplus of ¥2.85 trillion, amid rising overseas bond yields as major central banks tightened monetary policy to fight inflation.

The current account balance is one of the widest gauges of international trade. Comparable data became available in 1985.

Resource-poor Japan, which is sensitive to swings in imported energy and raw material prices, reported massive trade deficits last year as the yen remained weak.

The dollar averaged ¥146.57 in January, sharply higher than ¥130.20 a year earlier, as the interest rate differential between the United States and Japan remained wide. The Bank of Japan has been an outlier among major central banks in sticking to its ultraloose monetary policy.

Imports fell 12.1% to ¥8.78 trillion after the value of coal and liquefied natural gas imports dropped.

Exports rose 7.6% to ¥7.34 trillion as shipments of cars and equipment to manufacture semiconductors increased, with the relative resilience of the U.S. economy supporting Japan's export growth.

The service trade deficit shrank 27.4% to ¥521.1 billion, helped by the largest-ever travel surplus, meaning that spending by foreign visitors to Japan far exceeded the amount spent by Japanese overseas.

The number of foreign visitors to Japan totaled 2.69 million in January, recovering to the pre-pandemic 2019 level.