The 14.3 percent gain from a year earlier to 587 billion yen ($5.9 billion) compared with a median estimate for a 401 billion yen excess in a survey of 24 economists.
After seasonal adjustment, the surplus swung to a 125.2 billion yen deficit, a record low for data stretching back to 1996 and underscoring the drag on the economy from trade deficits exacerbated by swelling energy costs and the yen’s depreciation. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is trying to sustain a recovery jump-started by fiscal and monetary stimulus.
“The current account will probably remain in surplus as a robust income surplus will make up for the trade deficits,” said Masamichi Adachi, a senior economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Tokyo and a former central bank official.
The yen was little changed at 99.08 per dollar as of 7:07 p.m. in Tokyo, down about 20 percent for the past year. The benchmark Topix index closed 0.8 percent higher.
The income surplus gained 24.6 percent to a record for September, lifted by higher interest receipts and dividends from foreign investments.
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