TOKYO, May 25 (Reuters) - Japan’s net foreign assets hit a record high of 266.2 trillion yen ($2.958 trillion) at the end of last year, making it the world’s top creditor nation for the 19th straight year, the Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday.
Japan’s net external assets grew 18 percent, or 40.7 trillion yen, by end-2009 due to an increase in Japanese investments abroad and the yen’s decline against the dollar and the euro, which inflates the yen-denominated value of Japan’s foreign assets.
The country’s gross foreign assets grew 35.6 trillion yen, or 6.9 percent, while its gross external debt dropped 5.1 trillion yen, or 1.7 percent, partly because foreign investors sold Japanese debt securities.
Although some countries, such as the United States, have not yet announced their international investment position figures as of end-2009, Japan’s net foreign assets would be the largest in the world, the ministry said.
China, the world’s second-largest creditor nation, had net foreign assets of 167.7 trillion yen at the end of last year, Japan’s finance ministry said. ($1=90.00 Yen) (Reporting by Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Chris Gallagher)