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Japan expected to post March current account surplus amid U.S. trade concerns
May 9, 2017 / 3:57 AM / 6 months ago

Japan expected to post March current account surplus amid U.S. trade concerns

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s current account balance likely remained in the black for the 33rd straight month in March, underpinned by solid income from overseas investments and strong exports, a Reuters poll showed.

A picture illustration shows Japanese 10,000 yen notes featuring a portrait of Yukichi Fukuzawa, the founding father of modern Japan, August 2, 2011. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao/File Photo

The current surplus is expected to have fallen to 2.643 trillion yen ($23.35 billion) in March from 2.814 trillion yen in February, the poll of 16 analysts found.

Japan’s trade and current account surpluses with the United States will be closely watched as U.S. President Donald Trump pursues protectionist trade policies. He has previously accused Japan of weakening the yen deliberately to help boost exports.

“The overseas income balance continues to be high, and the trade balance has sustained a surplus trend since last year,” said Koya Miyamae, senior economist at SMBC Nikko Securities.

“Depending on what policies Trump adopts, the trade balance can shrink or increase, but I think the general (surplus) trend will continue,” Miyamae added.

The finance ministry will announce the data at 8:50 a.m. Japan time on Thursday (2350 GMT, Wednesday).

Japan’s March trade data showed exports rose at the fastest pace in more than two years as increased shipments of car parts and steel signaled that expanding overseas demand could help boost the country’s notoriously slow economic growth.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that Washington could no longer sustain inflated trade deficits with its trading partners, according to a statement issued last week by the department.

Japan’s finance minister, Taro Aso, however, said he had no discussion on trade deficits when he spoke with Ross earlier last week.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko and Minami Funakoshi; Editing by Sam Holmes

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