Japan's current account surplus up 10.4%

TOKYO: Japan's current account surplus grew 10.4 percent in August from a year earlier as exports fell at a slower pace than imports, official data showed Thursday.

The surplus in the current account -- the broadest measure of trade with the rest of the world -- rose to 1.17 trillion yen (13.2 billion dollars) in the month, the finance ministry said.

The world's second largest economy logged a trade surplus of 303.7 billion yen, reversing a year-earlier deficit of 141.2 billion yen, the figures showed.

Exports were down 37.1 percent to 4.23 trillion yen while imports fell by a steeper 42.8 percent to 3.92 trillion yen.

The deficit in the services account widened to 122.8 billion yen from 115.9 billion yen due to higher deficits in the transport sector, the ministry said.

The surplus in the income account shrank 24.5 percent to 1.06 trillion yen due to falling returns on overseas investments.

Historically, Japan has had a large surplus in its current account, which measures the flow of goods, services and investment income. But the global recession has hit demand for its key exports such as cars and high-tech goods.

Japan's economy grew in April-June for the first time in five quarters on the back of a rebound in exports and Tokyo's massive stimulus spending.

But domestic demand remains weak and a stronger yen is hurting exporters, raising concerns that the recovery could stall as the impact of the government's pump-priming measures fades.