Japan’s Current-Account Surplus Bounces Back in February

Japan's Current-Account Surplus for Feb. Is $25 Billion

Japan’s current-account surplus for February was 2.81 trillion yen ($25 billion), up from 65.5 billion yen in January, according to data released on Monday.

Key Points

  • The surplus widened 18.2 percent from a year earlier.
  • The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg was a 2.51 trillion yen surplus.
  • January’s current-account surplus was weak thanks to a monthly trade deficit resulting from the timing of the Lunar New Year holiday in Japan’s trading partners.

Big Picture

Japan has maintained current-account surpluses for years thanks to a typically positive trade balance and strong primary income from investments overseas. A recovery in exports is reinforcing this trend. The current-account surplus has also been large enough to land Japan on the U.S. Treasury’s currency watch list, the latest version of which is due this month.

Economist Takeaways

  • "Exports have stabilized after bottoming out, so this time we should see a good export figure,"said Yuichiro Nagai, an economist at Barclays Securities Japan before the data were released.
  • "In the context of a global recovery, exports in the first quarter look like they’ll be riding a high wave," Nagai said. "One point to watch will be the weakening of auto exports to the U.S. It’s not clear what the cause is."
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