Japan’s current account surplus soared 135.2 percent in January from a year earlier to 1.054 trillion yen for the seventh straight month of expansion, due to brisk exports and a continued drop in overseas tourism, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday.
A major factor behind the increase was the 128.6 percent jump in the merchandise trade surplus. Exports expanded 11.3 percent to 4.078 trillion yen, while imports rose 1.5 percent to 3.431 trillion yen.
“Although trade figures are usually smaller in January than other months of the year, they were strong this January, reflecting the good trend in the global economy,” a ministry official said.
Trade with the United States fell, with imports of beef decreasing following the first case of mad cow disease in the U.S. in December. But exports to and imports from the rest of Asia and the European Union rose.
An analyst said the nation’s exports are likely to be supported by global demand for digital products in the months ahead.
“Recently, exports of products that Japanese companies are good at making are growing,” said Junji Ota, economist at Okasan Economic Research Institute, referring to products such as digital cameras and DVDs.
“We are entering a period in which the purchase of these products is growing worldwide, and I believe exports of these products will support Japan’s export figure,” he said.
The current account balance — the broadest gauge of trade in goods and services — is calculated by determining the difference between income from foreign sources and payments on foreign obligations, excluding net capital investment.