TOKYO, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Japan's current account surplus increased 25.8 percent from the previous year to 20.65 trillion yen (183.86 billion U.S. dollars) in 2016, marking a nine-year high, the finance ministry said in a preliminary report on Wednesday.
According to the ministry's latest data, goods trade registered a surplus of 5.58 trillion yen in the recording period, bouncing back from a deficit of 628.8 billion yen a year earlier, owing in part to lower prices for crude oil and a comparatively firm yen lowering overall import costs.
Imports for the year dropped 16.6 percent to 63.31 trillion yen, while exports retreated 8.5 percent to 68.89 trillion yen, said the ministry.
The value of crude oil imports, heavily relied on by Japan since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis, tumbled 32.4 percent owing to a drop in oil prices in the year, according to the latest government data.
Meanwhile, the surplus in Japan's primary income account, fell 12.2 percent to 18.14 trillion yen, due to profits from securities investments falling, the ministry said.
Japan's primary account reveals the amount Japan earns from its investments made overseas.
For the month of December, Japan's current account surplus stood at 1.11 trillion yen, marking the 30th successive month of black ink.
Japan's current account surplus is one of the the broadest measure of its trade with the rest of the world and the data is keenly eyed by the Bank of Japan (BOJ) and the finance ministry ahead of new potential policy changes or monetary easing or tapering measures.
In Japan, the current account surplus increases the nation's net foreign assets by the corresponding amount, and a current account deficit does the reverse.
Both the Japanese government and private payments are included in the calculation and it is called the current account because goods and services are generally consumed in the current period.