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Japan broad trade surplus at 9-year high on export rebound

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By Associated Press

Japan says its current account surplus hit a 9-year high in 2016, helped by lower costs for imported oil and improved exports.

A tug boat goes by the pier of a container terminal in Tokyo, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. Japan posted a trade surplus in 2016, its first in six years, as lower oil prices pulled imports lower, the government reported Wednesday. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko | Manila Bulletin)

A tug boat goes by the pier of a container terminal in Tokyo, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. Japan posted a trade surplus in 2016, its first in six years, as lower oil prices pulled imports lower, the government reported Wednesday. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko | Manila Bulletin)

The perennial trade surpluses Japan runs with the U.S. are a sore point for U.S. President Donald Trump, and the data announced Wednesday came just as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was preparing for summit meetings with Trump later in the week.

The current account is a wide gauge of trade and includes investment flows as well as exports and imports. The 20.65 trillion yen ($183.7 billion) surplus was up 25 percent from a year before and the second highest on record.

Exports fell by less than imports, leaving a goods trade surplus of 5.58 trillion yen ($49 billion), after a deficit of 628.8 billion yen in 2015.

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