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Japan’s current account surplus will reach a record ¥25 trillion in fiscal 2023

TOKYO – Japan’s current account surplus expanded 2.8 times in fiscal 2023 from the previous year to a record high of ¥25.339 billion, mainly thanks to a smaller deficit in goods trade, the Finance Ministry said Friday in a preliminary report.

The larger surplus on the current account, which measures trade and investment flows of goods and services, was also due to the surplus on travel services, which reached a record high, boosted by an increase in foreign visitors to Japan.

In the year ending March 2024, the country’s goods trade deficit shrank to ¥3,572.5 billion, from the previous year’s ¥17,786.9 billion.

Exports rose 2.1 percent to ¥101,866.6 billion, reflecting robust auto exports amid reduced disruptions to semiconductor supply chains, while imports fell 10.3 percent to ¥105,439.1 billion, as the coal, liquefied natural gas and crude oil markets calmed down after price increases.

In services trade, Japan posted a deficit of ¥2,450.4 billion, down from last year’s deficit of ¥5,390.2 billion. Reflecting the number of visitors to Japan increasing by a factor of 3.4, the travel account surplus reached 4,229.5 billion yen, surpassing the previous record set in the 2019 budget year, before the COVID-19 pandemic surpassed.

The country also recorded the largest deficit in digital services, including online advertising, at ¥5,571.4 billion.

The primary income balance surplus, which reflects dividend and interest flows, rose 0.6 percent to ¥35,531.2 billion, hitting a record high for the third year in a row. The surplus reflected strong corporate profits, rising interest rates abroad and a weaker yen.

In March alone, Japan’s current account surplus rose 44 percent from a year earlier to ¥3,398.8 billion, thanks to the country posting its first trade surplus in three months. The country recorded a current account surplus for the fourteenth month in a row.

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