Current account surplus plunges 96.1% in Aug.

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Finance Ministry’s headquarters building in Tokyo.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan’s current account surplus in August plunged 96.1% from a year before to ¥58.9 billion, the smallest figure for an August since 1985, a Finance Ministry report showed Tuesday.

The result came as the country’s trade deficit expanded due to the yen’s weakening and rising crude oil and other resources prices.

The August surplus fell short of the median forecast of ¥120 billion in a Jiji Press poll of 19 economic research institutes.

In goods trade, imports surged 52.9% to ¥10,550.2 billion as those of crude oil, coal and liquefied natural gas swelled amid the weaker yen.

Exports rose 23.7% to ¥8,059.6 billion, reflecting strong demand for automobiles.

As a result, Japan incurred a goods trade deficit of ¥2,490.6 billion, far outpacing the year-before level of ¥384.7 billion.

On the primary income account, which covers Japanese companies’ dividend and interest receipts from abroad, the country’s surplus expanded 46.8% to a record high of ¥3,327.1 billion, thanks to the yen’s depreciation, which boosted dividends from overseas subsidiaries when converted to the yen.

In services trade, including transportation and travel, the country’s deficit widened to ¥615.9 billion from ¥188.6 billion.