Japan’s current account surplus rises 38%

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Japan’s current account surplus rose 38.0 percent in October from a year earlier, as imports dropped faster than exports amid falling crude oil prices and the prolonged U.S.-China trade conflict, government data showed Monday.

The country’s surplus in the current account came to 1.82 trillion yen ($17 billion), marking the 64th straight month of black ink, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report.

Among key components, the goods trade surplus was 254.0 billion yen, compared with a deficit of 320.7 billion yen from the previous year.

Exports fell 7.9 percent to 6.54 trillion yen due to weak demand for automobiles and iron products in the United States and China, while imports plunged 15.3 percent to 6.29 trillion yen, reflecting cheaper crude oil prices as well as slowing demand for oil and liquefied natural gas, a ministry official said.

Primary income, which reflects returns on overseas investments, dropped 13.7 percent to 1.78 trillion yen from a year earlier, reflecting a decline in dividends from overseas subsidiaries of Japanese companies, the official said.

Services trade, including cargo shipping and passenger transportation, registered a deficit of 99.5 billion yen, narrowing a loss compared with the deficit of 238.6 billion yen in the same month last year.

In services, a surplus in the travel balance marked 203.5 billion yen, supported by tourists to watch Rugby World Cup matches though the number of South Korean travelers fell amid worsening bilateral ties.

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