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Japan keeps top creditor status as external assets hit record high

[TOKYO] Japan's net external assets grew to a record high of 365 trillion yen (S$4.83 trillion) in 2019, making it the top creditor nation for the 29th straight year and reflecting a rise in overseas investment, data from the Ministry of Finance (MOF) showed on Tuesday.

The net value of assets held by the government, businesses and individuals at the end of 2019 rose 6.7 per cent from a year earlier, it said.

Japan's net external assets were about 1.2 times than those held by Germany, the world's No.2 creditor nation with $2.8 trillion in net assets at the end of 2019, and about 1.5 times than China's.

Gross external assets rose 7.8 per cent to a record 1,098 trillion yen, reflecting an increase in Japanese direct investment overseas and securities investment. External debt rose 8.4 per cent to 733 trillion yen due to gains in non-resident securities investment and rises in Japanese stocks held by overseas investors.

The MOF data confirmed Japan's overall current account surplus stood at 20.1 trillion yen in 2019, up 4.7 per cent from a year earlier, backed by income gains from overseas investment.

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This bolsters the view of Japanese officials who argue the country earns far more from its overseas investment than from its trade surplus.


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