Balance of Payment Japan

In January 2017, Japan's current account was in a surplus of 1260 billion yen after a seasonal adjustment, a moderate fall from 1659 billion yen in December 2016.

Published monthly by the Ministry of Finance. Updated till the month of January 2017 (published on March 8th, 2017).

Recent data trend:

In January 2017, the current account balance in Japan was 1260 billion yen, a significant fall from 1659 billion yen in the previous month. The fall in current account balance is mainly due to a large fall in the goods trade balance which dropped to 146 billion yen in January 2017 from 588 billion yen in December 2017. Simultaneously the current account to GDP % fell to 2.8% from 3.7% in the last month.


Even if there is a fall in current account surplus in January, it is still large. With the new Trump administration in US potentially eyeing Japan as a target for its new mercantilist policy, the large current account surplus may be a liability for Japan in the near term. The bulk of the surplus came not from exports but from the proceed from Japan's investment abroad. However, the large sized current account surplus may be used to argue that yen is undervalued. 

Brief overview of “Balance of payment”:
Balance of payment statistics makes an account for all the flow of funds across Japan’s border. In these statistics, financial flows are divided into two large categories. One category is called capital and financial account. Financial transactions that lead to transfers of assets/liabilities are included in the capital and financial account. The other category, known as current account, includes other transactions such as trades of goods and services, payment of interest and dividends and transfers such as international aids.
Japan has consistently recorded a surplus in its current account since 1981. The surplus consisted mostly of trade account surplus until mid 2000s. In recent years, the income account surplus has increasingly become a dominant source of the surplus, while Japan’s trade surplus diminished, even falling to a deficit between 2011 to 2015. While the fall in energy prices helped return the trade balance back to surplus in 2016, it is uncertain if the trade surplus would persist. 

Balance of Payment (Annual data, 1970-2016)

Note: The Japanese government publishes its Balance of Payment (BoP) statistics following BPM6 (Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual, 6th edition) going back to 1996. The BoP statistics we (JMA) show here for 1985-1995 are based on BPM5. The YoY change and YoY% growth we show here for 1996 is also based on BPM5, as the BPM6-based BoP statistics is available for 1996, but not for 1995. For 1970-85 the Japanese government has published the Balance of Payment Statistic in the USD denomination. We have converted it to Japanese Yen using average USD/JPY exchange rate for each year, except for 1970-72 for which we used end of the year USD/JPY exchange rates. 

For more information, visit the official government page

Source: MoF, JMA


The Next Release Date: April 10th, 2017.


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