Asia Business

Japan exports drop more than expected in May

Japanese exports dropped more than expected in May, renewing worries about the pace of Japan's recovery from an earthquake and tsunami.

Exports fell 10.3% from a year earlier, the finance ministry said. Analysts were expecting a drop of 8.4%.

Power shortages and supply chain issues in manufacturing continue to disrupt production and hurt overseas sales.

The trade balance also suffered a deficit for a second month because of a jump in imports.

"Over all the data shows that Japan's economy appears to be bottoming out, but the speed of the recovery will be moderate," said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute.

Trade woes

Carmakers saw exports drop 38.9% in May from a year earlier.

But while that is a significant drop, it was actually less than the 67% slump seen in April.

At the same time, shipments of semiconductors, auto parts and other electronic components also suffered.

As the country rebuilds after the tsunami, imports have picked up, rising 12.3% in May from the year before.

That has resulted in a trade deficit for the country of 853.7bn yen ($10.6bn; £6.6bn), the ministry said.

It is Japan's second-biggest trade deficit after a 967.9bn yen deficit in January 2009.

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