• Kyodo


Japan posted a 25.3 percent increase in its current account surplus in February from a year earlier, supported by an expanded trade surplus due to lower crude oil prices, according to government data released Monday.

The current account, one of the widest gauges of international trade, stood at ¥2.68 trillion, marking the 56th straight month of black ink, according to a preliminary report by the Finance Ministry.

Primary income, which reflects returns on overseas investments, was a key driver of the surplus, registering ¥2.01 trillion in the black.

Among other key factors, the country had a goods trade surplus of ¥489.2 billion, helped by falling crude oil prices and a rebound from the previous month’s fall in exports to China, Japan’s major trading partner, ahead of the Lunar New Year beginning Feb. 5.

A ministry official who briefed reporters said Japan’s trade to China tends to be influenced by the Lunar New Year, before and during which Tokyo tends to refrain from exporting to the country.

The country’s exports fell 1.9 percent to ¥6.31 trillion in the reported month, while imports dropped 6.6 percent to ¥5.82 trillion.

Services trade, which includes cargo shipping and passenger transportation, posted a surplus of ¥236.6 billion. Travel surplus rose 6.6 percent to ¥227.4 billion as the number of foreign travelers visiting Japan climbed 3.8 percent from a year earlier to 2.6 million in the reporting month.

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