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Japan posts first current account surplus in five months
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) April 08, 2014

Japan posted its first current account surplus in five months in February, helped by a narrower trade deficit and higher returns on investment abroad, government data showed Tuesday.

Japan logged a surplus of 612.7 billion yen ($5.9 billion) in February, down 5.7 percent from the surplus the year before, but a reversal of a deficit of 1.59 trillion yen in January.

The monthly trade deficit shrank by 1.4 percent on-year to 533.4 billion yen as exports grew faster than imports.

Exports rose 15.7 percent to 5.94 trillion yen thanks to robust shipments of automobiles and refined fuel products while imports went up 14.1 percent to 6.47 trillion yen.

Japan used to boast large trade surplus on exports of cars and other industrial products.

But the nation has recently been saddled with heavy deficits stoked by its dependence on importing fossil fuels to generate electricity, with nuclear reactors shut down after the 2011 tsunami-sparked atomic disaster.

The yen's sharp depreciation since late 2012 has also pushed up import costs.

The nation's primary income balance, which includes returns on foreign investment, marked a surplus of 1.46 trillion yen, up 3.6 percent from a year earlier.

The current account is the broadest measure of the country's trade with the rest of the world, including not only trade in goods but also services, tourism and returns on foreign investment.


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