The current account surplus grew a preliminary 6.2 percent in February to 2.21 trillion yen, the second-highest level on record, due to a rise in the income account, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday.
The income account, covering income from investments in foreign securities and payments by foreign employers in Japan, posted a surplus of 1.33 trillion yen, up 29.7 percent from a year ago and a record high, the ministry said in the preliminary report.
Growth in the income account more than offset a 13.1 percent fall to 945.5 billion yen in the surplus in trade in goods and services, it said.
The number came close to passing the record high of 2.22 trillion yen recorded in March 1993.
According to the report, the surplus in merchandise trade shrank 10.9 percent in February to 1.09 trillion yen as rising oil prices inflated the value of imports.
Exports grew 21.5 percent to 5.60 trillion yen. Auto exports surged 20.3 percent, while ship exports jumped 51.5 percent.
Imports expanded at a faster pace, rising 33.2 percent to 4.51 trillion yen, spurred by soaring oil prices and firm domestic demand.
Imports of crude oil jumped 86.0 percent and microchip imports rose 37.6 percent.
Crude oil prices jumped 48.0 percent in February from a year earlier to $60.92 a barrel on a customs-cleared basis, rising for the 23rd straight month.
The balance of trade in services chalked up a deficit of 145.4 billion yen, up 6.4 percent for the first expansion in 13 months.
The current account balance — the broadest gauge of trade in goods and services — is the difference between a nation’s income from foreign sources and foreign obligations payable, excluding net capital investment.