Japan’s current account surplus grew more than six-fold in 2015 from the previous year to 16.64 trillion yen ($142 billion), boosted by a plunge in crude oil imports and a travel surplus amid the yen’s depreciation, government data showed Monday.
Goods trade registered a deficit of 643.4 billion yen, sharply down from the deficit of 10.40 trillion yen in 2014, thanks to plunges in crude oil prices that helped improve the trade balance despite slow growth in exports.
The current account surplus, one of the widest gauges of international trade, grew for the first time in five years, as imports dived 10.3 percent to 75.82 trillion yen, while exports rose 1.5 percent to 75.18 trillion yen, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report.
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 value of crude oil imports slid 41.0 percent as average oil prices almost halved to $55.00 per barrel in 2015. The value of liquefied natural gas imports dropped 29.5 percent.