Tokyo, Japan (4E) – Japan’s export activity eased in May due to weak global economic growth, a signal that the trade picture in the world’s third-largest economy may not improve any time soon, while weaker imports indicates a slowing domestic economy.
Outbound shipments fell 2.7 percent from the previous year, according to a statement by the finance ministry released Wednesday in Tokyo, worse than a median forecast of 29 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News who called for a 1.3 percent drop. Imports fell 3.6 percent, resulting to an 8.3 percent narrowing of the trade deficit to 909bn yen ($8.9bn).
The trade shortfall stood at 909.0bn yen ($8.9bn), continuing the run of monthly deficits to a record 23rd consecutive month, according to the finance ministry. Economists projected a deficit of 1.15tn yen, according to data compiled by The Wall Street Journal and the Nikkei.
Exports in May dropped 2.7 percent from the year-earlier month, the first on-year fall in 15 months, while imports slid 3.6 percent, the first tumble in 19 months.
Japan’s economy, which expanded by 6.7 percent in the first quarter on an annualized basis, is expected to decline by 4.2 percent in the second quarter, according to economists’ consensus view.