Japan posted a current account surplus of 20.20 trillion yen ($177 billion) in fiscal 2016, the largest since fiscal 2007, as imports fell more than exports on declining crude oil prices, government data showed Thursday.
The surplus expanded for the third straight year, as it was also buoyed by a record travel surplus of 1.28 trillion yen, thanks to a jump in foreign tourists to Japan during the year through March, the Finance Ministry said.
Goods trade registered a surplus of 5.77 trillion yen after falling crude oil prices dented the value of imports, which fell 10.9 percent from a year ago to 64.89 trillion yen, while exports dropped 3.4 percent to 70.65 trillion yen, hurt by the yen’s advance.
“The slump in crude oil prices and the yen’s advance that we saw until the U.S. presidential election (in November) had a strong bearing on the data,” said Toru Suehiro, senior market economist at Mizuho Securities Co.
The current account surplus was the third largest since fiscal 1985, when comparable data became available.
Japan relies heavily on energy imports, with most of the country’s nuclear power plants offline since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.