Japan’s current account surplus expanded 8.0 percent in July from a year earlier for the second straight monthly increase, led by a decline in imports due to lower crude oil prices and the yen’s appreciation, the government said Thursday.
The surplus, which came to 1.94 trillion yen ($19.0 billion), was the largest for July since comparable data became available in 1985, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report. Japan posted a current account surplus for the 25th consecutive month.
A continued rise in the travel surplus also helped lift the current account surplus on the back of an increasing number of foreign tourists visiting Japan.
Among key components in the current account, one of the widest gauges of a country’s international trade, goods trade registered a surplus of 613.9 billion yen, a turnaround from a deficit of 88.0 billion yen a year earlier.
Exports fell 15.7 percent from a year earlier to 5.55 trillion yen, as shipments of such products as automobiles and steel declined, while imports plunged 26.0 percent to 4.94 trillion yen.
The value of crude imports dropped 42.7 percent as average oil prices shed 25.2 percent to $47.71 per barrel in the month. The value of liquefied natural gas imports fell 43.2 percent.