The yen’s slide over the past year has bumped up the cost of imports, including commodities and oil that were already on the rise due to the Ukraine war, putting immense pressure on Japan’s overall current and trade accounts.
The current account surplus stood at 33.4 billion yen ($255.51 million) in December, down steeply from a surplus of 1.8 trillion yen the previous month that was driven by income gains from securities investments and hefty Japanese investments overseas.
The latest figure marked a decline of 334 billion yen from a year earlier and undershot economists’ median estimates for 98.4 billion yen surplus in a Reuters poll.
Japan’s current account surpluses have long been regarded as a sign of export might and a source of confidence in the safe-haven yen, but the account has occasionally fallen into the red on a monthly basis in recent years partly as a weaker yen has boosted the costs of imports.
While the cost of imports rise as…