Japan’s current account surplus for January to June grew 31.9 percent from the same period a year ago to a record 9.64 trillion yen, topping the previous high set in the second half of 2003, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday.

The figure, an indicator of the volume of transactions between Japan and other nations, rose on soaring exports of semiconductor devices and electronic gadgets to other parts of Asia and to the European Union.

These exports outpaced a decline in auto exports stemming from manufacturers moving factories overseas.

The trade surplus grew 37 percent from the previous year to 7.3 trillion yen. Both exports and imports hit record highs, but exports, growing 12.6 percent from a year before to 28.22 trillion yen, outpaced imports, which grew 6 percent to 20.92 trillion yen.

The income surplus, a measure of interest and dividends earned overseas, hit a record 4.68 trillion yen.

These factors outweighed an expansion in the services deficit, which deepened 10.9 percent from a year earlier to 1.93 trillion yen, as Japanese overcame their fears of SARS and spent more money abroad.

In a separate report, the Finance Ministry said the current account surplus for June hit 1.28 trillion yen, up 15.7 percent year-on-year. It was the 12th consecutive month the current account surplus exceeded levels hit the year before.

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