Japan logs current account surplus for 3rd straight month

Japan's current account balance in April was in the black for the third month in a row. But the surplus plunged by more than half from a year earlier largely due to a trade deficit on the back of higher energy costs.

Preliminary data from the Finance Ministry shows the surplus was 501 billion yen, or about 3.8 billion dollars. That is down 55.6 percent in yen terms from April last year.

The current account is a key gauge of the country's trade and investment with the rest of the world.

The trade deficit was 688 billion yen or about 5.2 billion dollars. Soaring prices of crude oil, liquefied natural gas and coal pushed the up import value to the highest level since 1996, when comparable data became available.

The primary income surplus rose 18.2 percent to 2.37 trillion yen or about 17.8 billion dollars. It reflects interest and dividends from investments in overseas securities.

Higher dividends from foreign subsidiaries outside Japan and the stronger dollar against the yen were the main factors.