TOKYO — Japan's surplus in the broadest measure of trade shrank 9.2% in September from a year earlier, but was up sharply from its level of the previous month, the Finance Ministry said Friday.
September was the fifth consecutive month in which the current account surplus dwindled from a year earlier, and Finance Ministry officials said the shrinkage showed that the strong yen was beginning to bring world trade into better balance.
The current account includes merchandise trade as well as investment income and services such as shipping and insurance. Japan's surplus of $8.35 billion in September, not adjusted for seasonal factors, was down from $9.24 billion in September, 1986, but up from $5.31 billion this August.
"We think the dollar's decline against the yen is responsible in large measure for the diminishing trend" in the surplus, said a ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity.