Current account surplus down 39.4% in Oct.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan’s current account surplus shrank in October as growth of imports outpaced that of exports partly reflecting higher crude oil prices, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday.

The surplus in the current account, the country’s broadest measure of trade and investment flows, dropped 39.4% from a year before to ¥1,180.1 billion, down for the third straight month, the ministry said in a preliminary balance of payments report. The result came against a median forecast of ¥1,308.5 billion in surplus among 18 economic research institutes surveyed by Jiji Press.

In goods trade, Japan’s surplus decreased 82.5% to ¥166.7 billion.

Exports rose 11.7% to ¥7,080 billion, and imports were up 28.3% at ¥6,913.2 billion. While vehicle exports slumped due to production cuts amid semiconductor shortages, imports of crude oil, coal and liquefied natural gas grew sharply. Japan logged ¥575.4 billion in services trade deficit. The surplus on the primary income account expanded 11.5% to ¥1,780.3 billion thanks to increased dividends from resources-related companies overseas that performed well on the back of higher crude oil prices.