Japan reported a sixth straight monthly surplus in its broadest measure of trade in December, aided by stronger exports and a lower energy bill.
The current-account balance was in a surplus of 187.2 billion yen ($1.6 billion), swinging from a 679.9 billion yen deficit a year earlier, the finance ministry said Monday in Tokyo. This compares with a median forecast of 355.8 billion yen.
Income from investments abroad helped shore up the balance that has suffered from trade deficits almost every month back to early 2012, when Japan’s nuclear disaster sent imports of fossil fuels soaring. The tumble in oil prices since mid-2014 is good news for a country that imports almost all its energy, according to economist Kiichi Murashima.