Japan’s overseas profits and tourism buoy current account


TokyoJapan’s current-account surplus widened slightly in August from a month earlier, supported by investment and dividends from overseas and the tourism boom. It was a record surplus for the month of August.

Highlights of balance of payments: Surplus was ¥2.38 trillion (RM90.44 billion) versus a forecast of ¥2.22 trillion and following a surplus of ¥2.32 trillion in July. The primary income surplus was ¥2.24 trillion. The surplus in goods trade was ¥318.7 billion, versus a forecast of ¥264.3 billion.

Japan’s current account has been in the black every month since June 2014, reflecting the size of the nation’s overseas investments and its trade surplus, which has been partly the result of a weaker currency.

The current account surplus, which is more than 3% of the size of Japan’s gross domestic product, was a contributing factor in landing the country on a US Treasury currency watch list.

“I think the current account surplus will continue because the income balance has had a big surplus and the trade balance is stabilising in the black,” said Yasutoshi Nagai, chief economist at Daiwa Securities Co. “That’s not a bad thing for an export-driven economy.” “It’s good that the overall numbers are improving, but considering the probable effects on the yen and US-Japan relations, the continued current accounts surplus may not be particularly positive,” said Hiroaki Muto, chief economist at Tokai Tokyo Research Centre.

“In terms of US-Japan trading relations, Japan is continuing to pile up a positive trade balance, and it’s easier for Japan to be seen with hostility,” Muto said. — Bloomberg