Friday, March 8, 2013
DJ: Japan Posts Y364.8bn Current Account Deficit In January
TOKYO--Japan posted its third straight current account deficit in January, the longest run of red ink on record, as the nation's trade losses swelled on the weakening yen and strong energy imports, the Ministry of Finance said Friday.
The shortfall in the current account, the broadest measure of what Japan earns from trade and cross-boarder investment, came to Y364.8 billion in January before seasonal adjustments, down 19.9% from a year earlier, the ministry said.
But that's much better than a Y626.0 billion gap expected by economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires and the Nikkei. In December, Japan logged a Y264.1 billion deficit, according to the data, which in its present format dates back to 1985.
The latest figures underlined Japan's continued struggle in international trade, where its exports have been lackluster and its energy imports elevated due to stalled domestic nuclear plants. The yen's decline over recent months has helped energize Tokyo stock markets, but has done little to improve the trade picture, as it tends to inflate the import bill before it begins to bolster exports.
But the economy on the whole is showing signs of recovering from a brief recession last year, with industrial output, consumption and employment improving in January. A weak yen will eventually help raise the volume of exports in coming months along with a global economic pickup, economists have said.
The current account measures trade in goods, services, tourism and investment. It is calculated by determining the difference between Japan's income from foreign sources against payments on foreign obligations, and excludes net capital investment.