International cargo freighter (R) arrives at Port of Tokyo
Tokyo - AFP
Japan's current account surplus more than doubled year-on-year in February, with lower oil prices helping narrow trade deficits and a weaker yen boosting repatriated returns on foreign investment, official data showed on Wednesday.
Japan logged a surplus of 1.44 trillion yen ($12 billion), up 140.5 percent from a year earlier, the finance ministry said, as the nation posted a surplus for the eighth straight month.
The current account is the broadest measure of the country's trade with the rest of the world, measuring not only trade in goods but also services, tourism and returns on foreign investment.
In February, Japan's deficit in merchandise trade shrank by 75.0 percent thanks to solid exports and lower oil bills.
The surplus in the primary incomes segment, which includes gains from equity and other direct investment, as well as from investment in financial items, grew by 27.5 percent.
The rise was inflated by a weaker yen, the consequence of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's pro-spending policy and the Bank of Japan's massive monetary easing.
Japan's current-account surplus "should remain broadly stable going forward as a higher oil import bill should be offset by rising investment income," said Marcel Thieliant, Japan economist at Capital Economics said.
"In fact, the small rebound in crude oil prices since the start of the year should lead to a further widening of the trade deficit in coming months," he said.
"However, we also expect the exchange rate to weaken further in coming months. This should lift the yen-value of investment income and should offset a rising trade shortfall," he said in a note.