Japan logs first trade deficit in four months in May

TOKYO-Japanese exports jumped 14.9% in May, helped by a pickup in demand in emerging markets and a weaker yen compared with a year ago.

The trade surplus is pegged at 43.3 billion yen, down from 481.7 billion yen a month earlier.

The 14.9 percent annual increase in exports in May was the biggest rise since January 2015 and almost twice the pace seen in April, though it was below analysts' expectations of 16.1 percent.

Japan had a trade deficit of 40.54 billion yen with the European Union, after exports advanced 19.8 percent to 692.37 billion yen and imports rose 12.5 percent to 732.91 billion yen. That figure has captured attention after President Donald Trump named Japan as one of the nations contributing to the US trade deficit. Exports of autos and steel were among the largest gainers.

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Imports climbed an annual 17.8 percent versus expectations for 14.5 percent and up from 15.1 percent a month earlier.

Exports are called higher by an annual 16.0 percent after gaining 7.5 percent in the previous month.

Japan logged a trade deficit of 203.37 billion yen ($1.8 billion) in May, the first red ink in four months, as rising energy imports overshadowed continued growth in exports to Asia, government data showed Monday.

Takeshi Minami, chief Japan economist at Norinchukin Research Institute, said exports were solid.

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