Japan’s current account surplus plunged 92.8% in May from a year earlier to 128.4 billion yen ($944.5 million) as imports surged due to the soaring energy prices amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the weakening of the yen, the Finance Ministry said on Friday.
The current account balance, one of the broadest indicators of international trade, remained in the black for the fourth consecutive month, but the amount of the surplus was the smallest on record for May, preliminary data shows. published by the ministry.
Among the key items, the merchandise trade deficit widened 1.9 trillion yen from a year earlier to nearly 2.0 trillion yen, with the value of imports rising 51.3 percent to 9.4 trillion yen. yen, up for the 16th consecutive month.
The value of imports was the highest since comparable data became available in 1996, pushed up by rising imports of crude oil, liquefied natural gas and coal amid soaring oil prices. energy. The price of crude oil nearly doubled from a year earlier in yen terms, according to the ministry.
The photo shows liquefied natural gas tanks at Inpex Corp’s onshore processing facility. in Darwin, Australia on July 24, 2018. (Kyodo) == Kyodo
In addition to rising energy costs, the sharp depreciation of the yen against the US dollar has also led to higher import prices. In the reporting month, the dollar jumped 20 yen from a year earlier to around 129 yen.
By region, imports from Asia and the Middle East have increased significantly, the ministry said.
Exports rose 19.9% to 7.4 trillion yen, up for the 15th straight month, driven by buoyant shipments of iron and steel, mineral fuels and electronic components including semiconductors , with shipments to Asia growing in particular.
The services trade deficit, meanwhile, narrowed from 111.7 billion yen to 158.5 billion yen, largely due to lower advertising payments for US tech giants known as name of GAFA – Google LLC, Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.
The travel balance, which reflects the money spent by foreign visitors to Japan on services and goods compared to the amount spent by Japanese overseas, showed a surplus of 18.7 billion yen, higher than 17, 4 billion yen recorded a year earlier.
Amid easing restrictions associated with coronavirus infections, Japan accepted 147,000 foreign visitors in May, a sharp increase from 10,000 a year ago, while 134,000 Japanese nationals left the country in during the month, according to government data.
Primary income, which reflects returns from overseas investment, posted a surplus of 2.4 trillion yen, up 164.7 billion yen year on year, due to an expansion in investment income of wallet.