Japan posts current account surplus in February

Japan posted its first current account surplus in four months in February, reflecting narrower trade deficits and robust income receipts from investments overseas, according to the latest government data.

The current account balance, the broadest measure of the nation's trade with the rest of the world covering trade in goods, services, tourism and investment, logged a surplus of 637.4 billion yen ($6.5 billion) in February.

The monthly surplus nearly halved from the year-before surplus of 1.2 trillion yen but reversed the deficit of 364.8 billion yen in January, data from the finance ministry showed.

February's figure was bigger than an average surplus of 448.8 billion yen expected by economists, according to polls by Dow Jones Newswires and the Nikkei business daily.

The figure was affected by the Lunar New Year holiday in China, which reduced Chinese exports to Japan, and Tokyo's trade deficit as a result.

Japan logged a deficit of 677.0 billion yen in February goods trade, smaller than the shortfall of 1.48 trillion yen registered in January, but economists say the overall surplus was still driven by income from overseas investments.

They expect Japan's current and trade balances to improve going forward, as a sharply weaker yen is expected to make Japanese exports more competitive, while also inflating the value of income Japan receives from its investments overseas when repatriated.

A negative side of the weaker yen is that it makes Japan's import bills higher.

Japan's energy imports have increased due to stalled domestic nuclear plants after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami sparked the Fukushima atomic accident.

-- Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this article --

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