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Economy

Japan current account surplus rises 75% on falling energy prices

November marks 65th month in a row for Japan to finish with a surplus

Declining shipments of vehicles and construction machinery to the U.S. helped to pull down Japan's November exports by 10.2%, to 6.24 trillion yen.

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's current account surplus increased 75 percent in November from a year earlier as imports fell more steeply than exports amid declining energy-related prices in the reporting month, government data showed Tuesday.

The surplus in the current account -- one of the widest gauges of international trade -- stood at 1.44 trillion yen ($13 billion), marking the 65th consecutive month of black ink, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report.

Among key components, the goods trade deficit fell 99.5 percent from a year earlier to 2.5 billion yen.

Exports dropped 10.2 percent to 6.24 trillion yen, affected by declining shipments of vehicles and construction machinery to the United States.

Meanwhile, imports plunged 16.6 percent to 6.25 trillion yen, pulled down by cheaper crude oil and petroleum product prices, contributing to the improvement in the country's current account surplus.

The surplus in primary income, which reflects returns on overseas investments, remained a main driver of Japan's long-running current account surplus, up 0.1 percent from a year earlier to 1.46 trillion yen.

Japan's services trade surplus, which included cargo shipping and passenger transport, more than tripled to 163.0 billion yen, the highest for November, as Japanese companies' overseas research, development and consulting costs sharply decreased.

In services, a surplus in the travel balance registered a November record at 211.5 billion yen, helped by foreign travelers visiting Japan despite a plunge in the number of South Koreans due to chilled bilateral ties.

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