Japan's current account balance shifted to a surplus in February for the first time in five months but economists warn of a return to deficits as exports to emerging markets remain weak.
The surplus stood at 612.7 billion yen, slightly less than the median estimate for a 628.0 billion yen surplus, Ministry of Finance data showed, and marked a turnaround from a record deficit of 1.6 trillion yen in the previous month.
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The surplus should be welcome news for policymakers as a recent string of deficits had thrown the spotlight back on Tokyo's ability to service its huge debt.
Still, analysts don't expect a sustained improvement in the current account balance as Japan continues to import more gas and oil to make up for the closure of its nuclear power industry after the March 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster.
Moreover, income from exports has been crimped as many manufacturers have moved factories overseas in recent years.