Japan's current account surplus falls sharply in May

Car manufacturing unit
Image caption Japanese carmakers were some of the hardest hit, facing supply shortages and power cuts

Japan's current account surplus fell sharply in May, as the 11 March earthquake and tsunami continue to affect exports.

The surplus shrank 51.7% to 590.7bn yen ($7.27bn; £4.55bn) compared with a year earlier, said the Ministry of Finance.

However, that is less than most analysts had expected.

The data shows that while the economy continues to suffer from the disaster, it is recovering quicker than expected.

May's fall in the current account surplus marks the third straight monthly drop after the earthquake and tsunami wreaked havoc in the north east of Japan.

In April the surplus was down 69.5%.

Trade deficit

Even as the supply chain recovers and manufacturers come back online exports are still suffering.

The data showed that exports fell by 9.8% in May from a year earlier.

While imports rose 14.7%, mainly because of higher energy costs.

That translated to the second-biggest trade deficit on record, the ministry said.

The current account is the broadest measure of a country's trade with the rest of the world.

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