Japan: Export growth strengthens in May
Nominal yen-denominated merchandise exports increased 8.1% annually in May, accelerating from April’s 7.8% expansion and outpacing market expectations of a 7.5% increase. Stronger export growth in May came on the back of increased shipments of machinery and electrical machinery. May’s trade report boosts confidence that the economy gained traction in Q2 following Q1’s lackluster performance.
Import growth also accelerated in May to a robust 14.0% on an annual basis, above the 5.9% rise recorded in April. The figure, which exceeded market expectations of an 8.0% increase, was driven by increased imports of mineral fuels, especially oil, and of chemicals.
The merchandise trade balance swung to a JPY 578 deficit in May from a JPY 626 billion surplus in April due to the surge in imports. Meanwhile, the 12-month trailing trade surplus fell to JPY 2.2 trillion in May from JPY 2.6 trillion in April.