The nation’s current account surplus for the month of August grew 77.7 percent over the same month last year to 817.8 billion yen, according to provisional figures released Oct. 13 by the Finance Ministry.This marks the fifth straight month in which the figure has increased on a year-on-year basis, and could lead to renewed calls from trading partners such as the United States for Tokyo to take steps to spur demand at home.Ministry officials attributed the rise to factors such as the yen’s depreciation against the dollar and the gap between the domestic economy, which is still suffering from the adverse effects of the April consumption tax increase, and the relatively strong growth in markets abroad. But the ministry maintained its position that structural changes in the Japanese economy, such as increased overseas production, dictate that it is “unlikely that the surplus would continue to log significant increases.”The balance of goods and services for the month showed a surplus of 326.6 billion yen, surging from the 5 billion yen recorded in August last year. The trade surplus rose 68 percent to 912.6 billion yen, with the 13.8 percent increase in exports overshadowing the 3.4 percent growth on the import side. Exports came to 3.83 trillion yen, buoyed by a 41.3 percent rise in auto exports and a 19.1 percent rise in scientific optical instruments. In volume terms, auto exports grew by 33.4 percent.Although imports of semiconductors and other electronic parts rose 34.9 percent and meat imports increased by 35.3 percent, imports of lumber and clothing and accessories fell 15.7 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
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