The current account surplus rose 38.0 percent in October from a year earlier, as imports dropped faster than exports amid falling crude oil prices and the prolonged U.S.-China trade conflict, government data showed Monday.
The surplus came to ¥1.82 trillion, marking the 64th straight month of black ink, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report.
Among key components, the goods trade surplus was ¥254.0 billion, compared with a deficit of ¥320.7 billion from the previous year.
Exports fell 7.9 percent to ¥6.54 trillion due to weak demand for automobiles and iron products in the U.S. and China, while imports plunged 15.3 percent to ¥6.29 trillion, reflecting cheaper crude oil prices as well as slowing demand for oil and liquefied natural gas, a ministry official said.
Primary income, which reflects returns on overseas investments, dropped 13.7 percent to ¥1.78 trillion from a year earlier, reflecting a decline in dividends from overseas subsidiaries of Japanese companies, the official said.
Services trade, including cargo shipping and passenger transportation, registered a deficit of ¥99.5 billion, narrowing a loss compared with the deficit of ¥238.6 billion in the same month last year.
In services, a surplus in the travel balance marked ¥203.5 billion, supported by tourists visiting to watch Rugby World Cup matches, though the number of South Korean travelers fell amid worsening bilateral ties.