32.1% Drop In Japan’s Current Account Surplus In March Due To Pandemic

The impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the global economy has resulted in Japan losing out 32.1 per cent of its current account surplus in the month of March due to a slump in export and travel restrictions, said the government in a report.

The Finance Ministry of the country said that despite the fall, the current account surplus for Japan stood at 1.97 trillion yen or $18.41 billion for the month of March which is the 69th successive month that the current account has been in the surplus.

There was a drop of 82.5 per cent year on year in the country’s goods trade surplus at 103.1 billion yen or $963.92 million in March, the ministry also said in its preliminary report.

A drop in export demand for Japanese goods because of the coronavirus pandemic resulted in a drop of 12.2 per cent in the country’s exports for the month which came in at 6.20 trillion yen or $57.96 billion. On the other hand, the imports into the country dropped by 4.2 per cent in the same month to come in at 6.09 trillion yen or $56.93 billion which marked the 11th successive month of decline. This was partly because of a decline in energy prices as well as a drop in domestic consumer demand because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The ministry said that there was an 86.5 per cent drop in the travel surplus which came in at 24.5 billion yen or $229.06 million for March which was the second straight month of decline because of a slump in the number of foreign visitors to Japan which resulted in drop in tourist spending. There was also a sharp slump in outbound trips made by Japanese citizens because of the coronavirus pandemic taking global proportions.

The government’s data showed that services trade, meanwhile, logged a surplus of 72.0 billion yen or $673.20 million, dropping 77.6 percent, the government’s data showed.

The ministry also said that there was however a surplus in the main income of Japan – returns on investments made overseas, in the month of March at 2.06 trillion yen or $19.26 billion and noted a drop of just 0.4 per cent.

In fiscal 2019 ending in March, Japan recorded a current account surplus of 19.76 trillion yen or $184.75 billion, rising 1.4 per cent from the previous fiscal year. In the same period, the goods trade surplus stood at 647.8 billion yen or 6.05 billion, an increase of 2.2 per cent, the ministry said.

The current account surplus of Japan reflects in a broad way the conditions of its trade with the rest of the world. This data is also crucial for the Bank of Japan (BOJ) and the Finance Ministry because of possible new changes in policies or monetary easing or tapering measures.

(Adapted from XinhuaNet.com)



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