Business / Economy

Japan's current account surplus shrank 3.3% in first half

Kyodo

The current account surplus shrank 3.3 percent from the previous year in the first half on weak exports to the rest of Asia amid continuing tensions over the U.S-China trade war, preliminary data showed Monday.

In the April-September half, the surplus in the current account — one of the widest gauges of international trade — came to ¥10.34 trillion ($95 billion), shrinking slightly but logging its 11th straight half in the black, the Finance Ministry said in the preliminary report.

Among key components, goods trade sank into the red with a deficit of ¥24.1 billion and exports dropped 6.1 percent to ¥37.58 trillion as shipments of auto parts and semiconductor equipment to China declined in the period.

Imports fell 3.3 percent from a year earlier to ¥37.60 trillion on lower purchases of liquefied natural gas and other energy products from the Middle East.

The surplus in the primary income account, which reflects returns on foreign investment, edged down to ¥11.31 trillion but continued to help the world’s third-largest economy stay in the black.

The services trade, which includes cargo shipping and public transportation, ran a deficit of ¥271.1 billion, but the margin was the smallest on record on a fiscal first-half basis.

In services, the travel surplus stood at ¥1.35 trillion, backed by an surge in tourism in the period.

For September alone, Japan logged a current account surplus of ¥1.61 trillion, its 63rd consecutive month in the black. The goods trade surplus tumbled 99.6 percent from a year earlier to ¥1.1 billion. Services trade had a surplus of ¥40.1 billion and primary income registered a surplus of ¥1.81 trillion.

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