Japan’s current account surplus grew 0.6 percent from a year earlier to 3,211.4 billion yen for the six months through June, marking the first rise in five half-year periods, government data showed Thursday.
The result was driven by growth in direct investment income, which more than offset a trade deficit on increasing fuel imports.
However, the surplus in the balance, one of the widest gauges of international trade, was the second lowest on a first-half basis since comparable data became available in 1985.
The income account, which reflects how much Japan earns from its foreign investments, stood at a surplus of 8,678.3 billion yen, up 19.3 percent on the year and the largest for any half-year period since 1985, boosted by higher dividends and profits from securities investments on the back of the yen’s recent depreciation.
Goods trade saw a deficit of 4,238.2 billion yen — the biggest for any half-year period — as imports increased 8.6 percent to 36,914.1 billion yen on the currency’s weakening, outweighing growth in exports. Exports for the six-month period rose 3.5 percent to 32,675.9 billion yen.
A weakening yen usually boosts the competitiveness of Japanese exporters and increases the value of overseas revenue in yen terms, but it also pushes up import costs.