The nation’s current account surplus for November came to 1.28 trillion yen, up 91.8 percent from the same month the previous year, according to provisional figures released Wednesday by the Finance Ministry.It marked the eighth straight month in which the surplus logged a year-on-year increase, largely due to the 187.6 percent rise, to 879.8 billion yen, recorded for the surplus in goods and services.Ministry officials admitted the nation’s external surpluses will continue to grow for the time being.”But the various pump-priming steps the government is currently taking can be expected to prop up the domestic economy, so it is unlikely the surplus will rise to significant levels,” one official said.Exports continued to grow, rising 6.1 percent on a year-on-year basis to 4.09 trillion yen, but it was the first time since December 1996 that the figure did not register a double-digit increase. Officials attributed the slackening growth to a 1.9 percent decline in exports to other Asian economies, which have been experiencing market and economic turmoil over the past several months.Exports of automobiles rose by 15.5 percent, office equipment by 9 percent and steel by 14.4 percent. However, auto parts exports fell 12.2 percent and power generators were off 9 percent.Imports meanwhile recorded the first year-on-year decrease since July 1994, falling 5 percent to 2.84 trillion yen, indicating sluggish domestic demand. Increases of 359.2 percent were recorded for aircraft and aluminum, and aluminum alloy imports surged 33.3 percent. But lumber imports were off 37.9 percent, autos fell by 27 percent and crude oil was down 3.7 percent.As a result, the balance in goods trade stood at a surplus of 1.25 trillion yen, up 44.6 percent from the same period the previous year.
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