Japan logs first trade deficit in four months in May

Japan logged its first trade deficit in four months in May despite growth in exports, as imports soared on higher energy bills, government data showed Monday.

Japan logged a surprise deficit of 203 billion yen ($1.8 billion), according to data from the finance ministry, despite market expectations that the world's third largest economy would have posted a surplus
Japan logged a surprise deficit of 203 billion yen ($1.8 billion), according to data from the finance ministry, despite market expectations that the world's third largest economy would have posted a surplus (AFP)

Japan logged its first trade deficit in four months in May despite growth in exports, as imports soared on higher energy bills, government data showed Monday.

Japan logged a surprise deficit of 203 billion yen ($1.8 billion), according to data from the finance ministry, despite market expectations that the world's third largest economy would have posted a surplus.

Exports in May rose 14.9 percent from a year earlier to 5.85 trillion yen thanks to an increase in shipments of cars and steel, chalking up growth for the sixth consecutive month.

But imports expanded faster, rising 17.8 percent to 6.05 trillion yen, boosted by heavier costs for liquefied natural gas, coal and crude oil.

Japan's politically sensitive surplus with the United States rose 19.0 percent to 411 billion yen as exports increased 11.6 percent.

US President Donald Trump has vowed to root out "unfair" trade practices around the world and target other countries including Japan.