Japan posted current account surplus for the fourth straight month for May, as the trade deficit narrowed on the back of slower imports following the April sales tax hike, the Finance Ministry said Tuesday.
The surplus stood at JPY 522.8 billion (USD 5.1 billion), according to a preliminary report released by the ministry. But the surplus fell 7.7 percent from a year earlier.
The current account balance is the broadest measure of Japan's trade with other countries, including goods, services, tourism, and investment. The trade balance marked a deficit of JPY 675.9 billion (USD 6.6 billion) in May, shrinking 16.9 percent. Exports rose 2.0 percent from a year ago, while imports edged down 0.4 percent on reducing purchases of crude oil. Demand for crude oil and coal plummeted after the government raised sales tax on April 1 from 5 to 8 percent.
The surplus in the primary income account, which includes earnings from investments abroad, declined for the second consecutive month, went down 3.2 percent to JPY 1.478 trillion (USD 14.5 billion), due to decline in dividends from foreign direct investment.