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Japan's Balance of Payments for 2008*1

  • *1This is an English translation of Japanese original released on March 24, 2009.

August 10, 2009
Bank of Japan
International Department

Click on ron0908a.pdf to download the full text.

I. Summary

Japan's current account surplus decreased to 16.3 trillion yen in 2008, down from 24.8 trillion yen in 2007, mainly due to a decrease in the trade surplus. The decrease in the current account surplus is the first in three years. The capital and financial account deficit (net outflow) decreased to 19.6 trillion yen in 2008, down from 22.5 trillion yen in 2007. Reserve assets continued to increase, rising by 3.2 trillion yen in 2008 compared to an increase of 4.3 trillion yen in 2007. Balance of payments data for the whole of 2008 and the fourth quarter of 2008 in this report are preliminary unless otherwise stated.

In balance of payments statistics, the following relationship holds true at all times:
Current account + capital and financial account + changes in reserve assets + errors and omissions = 0. Japan's balance of payments for 2008 shows that the current account surplus earned is mirrored by reverse flows abroad in the form of a capital and financial account deficit (outflows) and an increase in reserve assets.

Figure 1: Balance of Payments

  • Figure 1

Note: "p" denotes preliminary data. The same applies to the remainder of the report.

Table 1: Japan's Balance of Payments

  • Table 1
  • Notes:1. Negative figures represent capital outflows. Negative figures in "changes in reserves assets" represent an increase in reserve assets.
  • 2. Figures for portfolio investment and other investment exclude securities lending transactions.

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