Japan's current account rebounded into surplus in February from a record deficit the previous month as income from overseas investments outweighed deficits in trade and services. The 613 billion yen (HK$46 billion) surplus was the first in five months, the Ministry of Finance reported yesterday. Japanese officials are assessing the strength of the economy after a sales-tax increase on April 1 that is projected to trigger a contraction this quarter. The Bank of Japan was fore- cast to refrain from adding to its unprecedented monetary easing at a two-day meeting ending yesterday, waiting to see the extent of the blow to consumption. "The increase in imports from front-loaded demand before the sales-tax increase has worn off," Koya Miyamae, an economist at SMBC Nikko Securities, said before the report. "The current account will stay in surplus for the next few months as domestic consumption weakens and exports are expected to keep rising." The current account slid to a record deficit in January, partly because of the effect on trade of the Lunar New Year holiday celebrated in many Asian countries. The income surplus is the portion of the current account that includes earnings from overseas trading of equities, bonds and debt securities. This tends to be higher in February and March owing to the repatriation of payments before the end of the fiscal year on March 31, according to Tsutomu Saito, an economist at Daiwa Institute of Research. The excess in income is staving off the risk of deficits that could undermine confidence in a nation with the world's largest debt burden.