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Japan trade deficit widens in May; surplus with US down 17.3% YOY

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Japan trade deficit widens in May; surplus with US down 17.3% YOY

Japan's trade balance yielded a deficit of ¥578.32 billion in May, more than doubling from the year-ago period as imports jumped, provisional data from the Ministry of Finance showed.

Exports in May climbed 8.1% to ¥6.323 trillion from the prior-year period. This was the fastest pace of increase in four months on the back of higher shipments of cars, car parts and semiconductor equipment, Reuters reported.

Overall imports rose an annual 14.0% to ¥6.902 trillion, underpinned by rising oil prices, Reuters said.

May exports to China, Japan's top trading partner, was up 13.9% year over year to ¥1.272 trillion. Imports from China rose 8.6% to ¥1.553 trillion.

Shipments to Asia in May, which account for more than half of Japan's exports, grew an annual 9.8% to ¥3.550 trillion, while imports from the region climbed 9.4% year over year to ¥3.204 trillion.

Exports to the U.S., Japan's second-largest trading partner, rose 5.8% to ¥1.146 trillion from the year-ago period, driven by higher shipments of car parts, Reuters reported. Imports from the country jumped 19.9% to ¥805.19 billion.

Japan's trade surplus with the U.S. fell 17.3% year over year in May to ¥340.71 billion, the lowest level of surplus seen since January 2013, the newswire reported.