Trade Surplus Rises 4th Month in Row in May

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan posted a current account surplus of ¥1.86 trillion in May, up 2.4-fold from a year earlier, the Finance Ministry said Monday.

The fourth straight monthly surplus came as the country’s trade deficit shrank after a recent surge in commodity prices came to a halt.

The May result was nearly in line with the median forecast of a surplus of ¥1.87 trillion in a Jiji Press poll of 17 economic research institutes. In goods trade, the deficit shrank to ¥1.19 trillion from ¥1.94 trillion in May.

Imports fell 10.2% to ¥8.43 trillion, down for the second straight month, due chiefly to a fall in crude oil prices. Exports fell 2.8% to ¥7.24 trillion, down for the first time in 27 months, amid China’s economic slowdown.

In services trade, the monthly deficit widened to ¥240.9 billion from ¥181.9 billion.