Jun 11, 2013

    Japan's surplus doubles in boost for Abenomics


    JAPAN'S current-account surplus doubled in April from a year earlier, and the economy grew at a much-quicker pace than previously estimated, an encouraging sign for the government's aggressive policies to stimulate growth even as recent market turbulence raised doubts about its strategy.

    Data yesterday showed that the world's third-biggest economy grew at an annualised 4.1 per cent rate in January to March, better than the initial estimate of 3.5 per cent, underlining a steady recovery on a pickup in global demand and bold stimulus policies known as "Abenomics" by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

    The current-account surplus stood at 750 billion yen (S$9 billion), up 100.8 per cent from a year earlier and much bigger than a median market forecast of a 320-billion-yen surplus, data from the Ministry of Finance showed.

    Hefty income gains, including returns from Japanese investments abroad, boosted by a weak yen, made up for trade deficits.

    "Exports are gradually recovering as overseas growth picks up, so that's a positive sign," said Ms Junko Nishioka, chief economist at RBS Securities Japan.