TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan likely posted its eighth straight monthly current account surplus in February, a Reuters poll showed, as lower oil prices trimmed the trade deficit and a soft yen boosted income from overseas investments.
The median from the poll of 23 economists was for current account surplus in February of 1.15 trillion yen ($9.6 billion). January had a surplus of 61.4 billion yen.
“Falling oil prices contributed by trimming imports while exports gained momentum, helped by demand from the U.S., which would narrow the trade deficit,” said an economist at the Japan Research Institute in the survey.
At the same time, he said, the weak yen and higher U.S. share prices help boost the surplus that’s produced when income from overseas investment is converted to yen.
The finance ministry will announce the data at 8:50 a.m. Tokyo time on Wednesday, April 8.
Analysts expect the current account to remain in surplus for a while thanks to a soft yen and to how the prices of imported resources such as liquefied natural gas are expected to fall.
Japan has emerged from a recession that hit after a sales tax hike in April 2014 but the nation is still struggling to gain recovery momentum as firms and consumers remain cautious about the economic outlook.
($1 = 119.65 yen)
Editing by Richard Borsuk