Japan net external assets hit record $4 trillion as top creditor nation for 24 years in a row

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's net external assets rose to a record 366.86 trillion yen (S$4.05 trillion) at the end of last year as a weak yen boosted the value of overseas holdings, making the country the world's biggest creditor nation for 24 years in a row, the finance ministry said on Friday.

The value of net assets held by the Japanese government, businesses and individuals exceeded the previous year's 325 trillion yen, the biggest amount on comparable data, ministry officials said.

Japan's net external assets were 1.7 times those held by China, the world's No.2 creditor nation with 214.3 trillion yen in net assets at the end of 2014, followed by Germany whose assets stood at 154.7 trillion yen, the ministry said.

Japan's gross external assets rose 18.5 per cent to 945.27 trillion yen, up for a sixth consecutive year, as the weak yen boosted the appraised value of external assets by 64 trillion yen from the year before, the ministry said.

External debt also grew 22.6 per cent to 578.42 trillion yen, up for a fifth straight year, helped by increased acquisitions by foreign investors of Japanese equities and other assets.

The Bank of Japan's aggressive monetary stimulus has helped drive down the yen, boosting exporters' profits and share prices.

The US dollar traded at 119.80 yen at the end of 2014, up 13.7 per cent from the year before, and the euro largely held steady at 145.44 yen, the finance ministry said.