Japan posted a current account surplus for the 17th consecutive month in November as a sharp drop in crude oil prices continued to reduce imports and a weaker yen helped lift the travel surplus, the government said Tuesday.
The surplus in one of the widest gauges of a country’s international trade grew 2.6-fold from a year earlier to 1.14 trillion yen ($9.72 billion), the Finance Ministry said.
Among key components in the account, the goods trade deficit plunged 57.0 percent to 271.5 billion yen, with exports falling 6.3 percent and imports sliding 10.9 percent.
The value of crude oil imports slid 40.9 percent as average oil prices fell 47.7 percent to $47.48 per barrel in the month. The value of liquefied natural gas imports dropped 41.5 percent.
Japan has been relying heavily on energy imports since the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, with most of the country’s commercial reactors remaining offline amid heightened public concern about their safety.
The surplus in the primary income account, which reflects how much Japan earns from foreign investments, increased 21.2 percent to 1.54 trillion yen, due mainly to a rise in profits from direct and securities investments, the ministry said.
The income surplus, a record high for November since comparable data became available in 1985, was also lifted by a cheaper yen, which helps raise receipts from overseas securities investments.