Japan Logs ¥8 Tril. Current Account Surplus in Jan.-June

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan’s current account surplus in January-June rose 11.1% from a year before to ¥8.013 trillion, marking the first half-year surplus expansion since the first half of 2021, the Finance Ministry said Tuesday.

The rise is mainly attributable to increased interest revenue from foreign bond holdings reflecting higher interest rates and a decline in the country’s trade deficit owning to a pause in the surge in resources prices.

Japan’s customs-cleared trade deficit in the first half of 2023 stood at ¥5.178 trillion, down from ¥5.65 trillion a year earlier, the ministry said in a preliminary balance of payments report. The deficit shrank as calm has returned to resources markets, and also because automobile exports grew.

The surplus on the primary income account, which covers Japanese companies’ dividend and interest receipts from abroad, grew 5.4% to ¥17.528 trillion.

In services trade, including transportation and travel, Japan logged a deficit of ¥2.122 trillion. While a 20-fold jump from a year before in the number of visitors from abroad to 10.71 million pushed up Japan’s travel surplus, online advertising fees paid overseas increased.

In June alone, Japan’s surplus in the current account, the broadest measure of the country’s overseas trade and investment flows, totaled ¥1.508 trillion, the second highest for June since comparable data became available in 1985.