Itochu Corp. has secured its position as the nation’s top trading giant — at least by some measures — as its emphasis on nonresource businesses helps it weather the coronavirus pandemic.

The company is set to earn twice the net income of key rival Mitsubishi Corp. in the fiscal year through March, according to filings from the companies. That will mark the first time time since 2015 it has edged out Mitsubishi to be the biggest trader by profit as the latter takes a hit from low coal and gas prices.

"Everyone has strong earnings when the economy is booming, but the difference appears when the environment turns sour,” said analyst Hidenori Kusunoki at Mizuho Securities Co. in Tokyo, adding that Itochu’s results reflect its drive to cut costs and avoid losses. Measures such as cost reduction can be more easily reflected in earnings of nonresources businesses, while the performance of resource sectors are affected by fluctuations in commodity prices, he said.