Japanese current account surplus dips
TOKYO - Agence France-Presse
A man cycles in a shipping container area in Tokyo in this file photo. Weak exports hit Japan’s current account surplus in 2011-2012 fiscal year dropping to $99 billion. REUTERS photoJapan’s current account surplus halved in the year to March, a record year-on-year fall on higher fuel costs and weak exports, and the nation’s smallest surplus since the mid-1990s.
Japan logged a surplus of 7.893 trillion yen ($99.0 billion) in the 2011-12 fiscal year, down 52.6 percent from a year earlier and the smallest yearly surplus since fiscal 1996, data from the finance ministry showed. The year-on-year percentage drop was the sharpest since comparable data began in fiscal 1985, according to the ministry.
The latest reading, the broadest measure of Japan’s trade with the rest of the world, came as the debt crisis in Europe –a key market for Japanese exports– and the soaring yen weighed. The country’s current account balance has taken a hit since the March 2011 quake-tsunami disaster, which pounded the world’s third-largest economy.
Nuclear reactor shutdowns following the crisis have left Japan without atomic power for the first time since the 1970s, stoking fears about energy shortages.
Nuclear power had previously supplied about one-third of the resource-poor nation’s energy needs.
Imports in the year to March soared 14.0 percent because of higher oil prices as well as increased demand for fossil fuel to ramp up thermal power generation as last year’s tsunami-sparked nuclear disaster spawned anti-atomic sentiment.
Exports over the same period fell 2.8 percent.