Japan’s current account surplus expanded 4.9 percent in February to 2.417 trillion yen, logging a second straight monthly rise as a weaker yen boosted exports and the income surplus expanded, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday.

The figure was the second-highest since comparable data became available in January 1985. The high was 2.422 trillion yen in March 2006.

Surplus in goods and services rose 3.7 percent to 1.05 trillion yen, while the merchandise trade surplus grew 3.6 percent to 1.12 trillion yen from a year earlier, the ministry said in a preliminary report.

Exports, an engine of Japan’s economic growth, jumped 9.0 percent to 6.11 trillion yen for the 39th straight month and the best February ever.

Auto exports climbed 19.6 percent, steel exports rose 28.5 percent and semiconductors and electronic parts jumped 15.3 percent.

Overall imports rose 10.3 percent to 4.99 trillion yen, a record for February, the 36th straight monthly increase.

Imports of crude oil, however, declined 12.0 percent in value terms from a year earlier.

Crude oil prices on average dropped 10.0 percent to $55 in February, marking the first decrease in 35 months. Also, the yen’s weakness against the dollar and the euro helped increase Japanese firms’ overseas earnings, economists said.

The dollar traded at 120.45 yen on average in February, compared with 117.89 yen in February 2006. The comparable figures for the euro were 157.60 yen and 140.77 yen.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.