TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan logged a current account surplus of 1.91 trillion yen ($17.3 billion) in July, up 24.5 percent from a year earlier, aided by increased exports to China and the United States as demand continued to recover from the coronavirus pandemic fallout, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday.
The country has remained in the black for 85 months but the surplus level was still lower than that seen in July 2019 before the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Among key components, goods trade came to a surplus of 622.3 billion yen, or a 4.1-fold increase from a year earlier, as exports grew in value more than imports.
Exports surged 37.5 percent to 7.22 trillion yen, buoyed by shipments of cars, iron and steel, and auto parts.
Imports jumped 29.3 percent to 6.60 trillion yen, mainly due to a surge in the value of energy and raw material imports such as crude oil.
Primary income, which reflects returns on overseas investments, recorded a surplus of 2.10 trillion yen, up 10.5 percent. It was boosted by increased dividend payments that Japanese companies, including automakers, received from their overseas subsidiaries amid rising sales, according to the ministry.
The service balance came to a deficit of 584.9 billion yen, larger than 415.8 billion yen a year earlier, partly because companies stepped up spending on software and services provided by overseas developers to bolster security to cope with more people working remotely.
Japan had a small travel surplus of 22.3 billion yen in July, expanding from 21.1 billion yen a year ago.
That was in part due to an increase in the number of foreign travelers to Japan, including those related to the Tokyo Olympics from July 23 to Aug. 8. Foreign spectators were barred from the games amid the coronavirus pandemic.