Japan's current account surplus slumped to ¥116.4B ($1.14B) in March from ¥612.7B in February and badly missed consensus of ¥347.7B, hurt by weak exports and rising imports ahead of a hike in sales tax in April.
For the fiscal year ending March 31, the surplus was ¥789.9B, the lowest on record.
The falling current-account surplus highlights how exports haven't been as strong as the Bank of Japan has predicted despite a sharp fall in the yen. That has prompted fears for Japan's economic recovery and increased speculation that the BOJ might add to its massive asset-buying policy.
There have also been fears that Japan's current account could slide into permanent deficit, which could weaken confidence in Japan's massive debt. That scenario is being held off by a surplus in overseas income.