TOKYO, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Japan's current account surplus in September went down 21.4 percent year-on-year, the seventh straight month of such contraction, the government said Wednesday.
The Finance Ministry blamed it on slower exports, affected by the March earthquake and tsunami, and higher imports and oil prices, Kyodo News reported.
The September surplus fell to 1,589 billion yen ($20.4 billion).
Current account surplus, a broad gauge of trade, measures the difference between a nation's total exports of goods, services and transfers, and its total imports.
The Wall Street Journal reported the September numbers were better than economists' forecast of a 26 percent decline, pointing to the ongoing recovery since March.
In the first half of the current fiscal year, Japan's current account surplus declined 46.8 percent from the same period of the previous fiscal year to 4,519.6 billion yen ($58 billion), the Finance Ministry said.