Japan Has 17th Straight Current-Account Surplus in November

Japan posted a current account surplus for the 17th consecutive month in November, providing support for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to boost the world’s third-largest economy.

The excess in the widest measure of the nation’s trade was 1.14 trillion yen ($9.7 billion) in November, up from 440.2 yen billion a year earlier, the Finance Ministry said Tuesday in Tokyo. The median estimate of 23 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a surplus of 895 billion yen.

The surplus was supported by a rise in income from investments abroad by Japanese companies as well as a gain in services, which came with an influx of tourists after the yen weakened. The boost helps an economy that has been hurt by a slowdown in exports including to China, Japan’s biggest trading partner.

“The wider current account surplus bodes well for Japan’s economy,” said Junko Nishioka, chief economist for Japan at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. in Tokyo. “Going forward, Japan will likely hold onto the surplus trend.”

Declining oil prices and recent gains in the yen, which may push down import prices and improve the trade balance, is expected to help Japan maintain the current-account surplus in coming months, Nishioka said.

The primary income surplus was 1.54 trillion yen in November, the largest on record for November, according to the report. The services balance had a surplus of 61.5 billion yen, helped by charges for the use of intellectual property rights and travel.

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