Japan’s Current Account Surplus Hits Record ¥25 trillion in FY 2023

TOKYO — Japan’s current account surplus in fiscal 2023 soared 2.8-fold from the previous year to hit a record high of ¥25,339 billion, mainly thanks to a smaller deficit in goods trade, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report Friday.

The bigger surplus in the current account, which measures goods and services trade and investment flows, was also due to the surplus in travel services, marking a record high, buoyed by an increase of foreign visitors to Japan.

In the year that ended in March 2024, the country’s goods trade deficit shrank to ¥3,572.5 billion from the previous year’s ¥17,786.9 billion .

Exports rose 2.1 pct to ¥101,866.6 billion , reflecting robust auto exports amid eased disruptions of semiconductor supply chains, while imports fell 10.3 pct to ¥105,439.1 billion as coal, liquefied natural gas and crude oil markets returned to calm after surges in prices.

In services trade, Japan posted a deficit of ¥2,450.4 billion , smaller than the previous year’s 5,390.2-billion-yen deficit. Reflecting the number of visitors to Japan jumping 3.4-fold, the surplus in the travel account stood at ¥4,229.5 billion , surpassing the previous record high, logged in fiscal 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The country also posted the largest deficit in digital-related services, including online advertising, at ¥5,571.4 billion .

The surplus in the primary income balance, which reflects dividend and interest flows, inched up 0.6 pct to ¥35,531.2 billion , logging a record high for the third year in a row. The surplus reflected strong corporate earnings results, rising interest rates overseas and a weaker yen.

In March alone, Japan’s current account surplus climbed 44 pct from a year before to ¥3,398.8 billion , thanks to the country marking its first trade surplus in three months. The country posted a surplus in the current account for the 14th straight month.