Japan Logs Trade Deficit in May

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Finance Ministry’s headquarters building in Tokyo.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan posted a customs-cleared trade deficit of ¥1,221.3 billion in May as crude oil imports swelled due to higher resources prices and a weak yen, a government report showed Wednesday.

The trade balance was in the red for the second consecutive month, according to the preliminary report by the Finance Ministry.

Both imports and exports advanced as the average rate of the dollar against the yen stood at ¥155.48 for the month, up 14.9% from a year earlier.

Imports climbed 9.5% to ¥9,497.9 billion, posting the second-highest level for May and increasing for the second consecutive month. The result was led by strong imports from the United Arab Emirates.

Japan’s total imports of petroleum products and crude oil rose 39.8% and 8.1%, respectively.

Exports increased 13.5% to ¥8,276.6 billion, marking the largest amount for May and the sixth straight month of growth.

Automobile shipments rose 13.6%, aided by the yen’s depreciation and demand from the United States.

Exports of semiconductor-manufacturing equipment surged 45.9%, with China-bound shipments accounting for about 50% of the total value. Shipments of semiconductors and other electronic components went up 24.0%.

In trade with the United States, Japan logged a trade surplus of ¥473.6 billion, up 10.9%. Japan’s trade deficit with mainland China totaled ¥533.1 billion, down 1.5%.