Japan’s current account surplus grew for the second consecutive month in November, rising 9 percent from the same month in 2001 to 1.16 trillion yen, according to a preliminary report released Wednesday by the Finance Ministry.
The current account surplus was bolstered by the continuing growth of exports to other parts of Asia.
The export growth more than offset a rise in the services deficit and a decline in repatriated income, which weighed on the current account surplus, ministry officials said.
The current account is the broadest gauge of trade, measuring the difference between a country’s income from foreign sources and foreign obligations payable, excluding net capital investment. It combines trade, services, income and current transfers.
Exports to other parts of Asia, particularly to China, increased and helped drive up a surplus in the trade balance, the officials said.
The balance of trade in goods and services jumped 86.5 percent from a year earlier to 717.1 billion yen, with the increase in merchandise trade surplus offsetting a deficit in services, particularly in air transportation.
The services deficit continued to widen during the month, primarily due to an increase in the number of tourists heading overseas. The figure plunged in November 2001 due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.
The surplus in merchandise trade — exports minus imports — came to 1.05 trillion yen in November, up 62.7 percent from a year earlier, the officials said.
Exports rose 19.4 percent from the previous year to 4.4 trillion yen, marking the eighth straight month of increase. Imports meanwhile grew 10.2 percent to 3.35 trillion yen, marking the third straight increase.
Exports to Asia ranked top, marking a 26.5 percent rise to 409.8 billion yen. Exports to the U.S. and the European Union also rose.
By item, exports of automobiles showed significant growth. Exports of semiconductors increased mainly in Asia, while those of office equipment, including printers and digital copiers, rose in the U.S. and Europe, they said.
Trade figures were largely unaffected by currency fluctuations, they said. In November, the yen averaged 121.49 against the dollar, compared with 122.31 a year earlier.
The income account, which covers income from Japanese investments in foreign securities and payments by foreign employers to workers in Japan, posted a surplus of 526.1 billion yen, down from 752.5 billion yen a year earlier.
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