Japan's Current-Account Surplus Makes an Easy Target for Trump

(Bloomberg) -- Japan’s swelling current-account surplus in February may be good news for the country’s finances, but not so much for its relationship with the U.S.

“The current-account balance above 2 trillion yen is the sort of level that makes it easier for Japan to become the target of attacks from the U.S. amid a backdrop of increasing trade frictions,” said Yuichi Kodama, chief economist at Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co.

More: Japan’s Current-Account Surplus Widens on Overseas Income

As trade tensions escalate between the U.S. and China, other countries with trade surpluses against the U.S. are nervously wondering who President Donald Trump may target next. And Trump has already put Japan on notice for what he sees as taking advantage of the U.S.

While much of the current-account surplus is driven by Japan’s income from overseas -- including a significant chunk of investment in America, which Trump should welcome -- the trade surplus with the U.S. grew to a hefty 631 billion yen ($5.9 billion) in February. That’s up 3.4 percent from a year earlier amid strong exports of automobiles.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to meet Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club on April 17-18.

Japan's Current-Account Surplus Makes an Easy Target for Trump

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