Business

Japan's exports surge 10% in May easing slowdown fears

Workers at a car factory in Japan
Image caption Japan's carmakers have seen an increase in shipments to key markets such as the US

Japan's exports have risen the most in 17 months easing concerns about the impact of a global slowdown on the Japanese economy.

Exports rose 10% in May from a year earlier, boosted by a 38% jump in deliveries to the US.

Shipments to China, Japan's biggest trading partner, also rose for the first time in eight months.

Japan's export-dependent economy relies heavily on demand from markets such as the US, Europe and China for growth.

Meanwhile, imports also rose by a better-than-expected 9% during the month, which analysts said was a sign that domestic demand may also be picking up.

"The increase in imports is a sign that the Japanese economy is not doing so badly," said Hiroshi Miyazaki chief economist at Shinkin Asset Management.

US factor

Japan's export sector has been hurt by a slowing demand from some of its key markets in recent months.

Its shipments to China have been falling amid slowing growth in the world's second-largest economy.

At the same time, consumer demand in Europe has also been hurt by the ongoing debt crisis in some of the region's economies.

However, demand for Japanese goods from the US has been rising steadily. The jump in May deliveries to the US comes after shipments to the country rose by 43% in April and 24% the month before.

Analysts said that demand from the world's biggest economy was likely to remain strong in the near term and that it will benefit Japan's growth.

"For Japan, strength in the US economy could more than offset the slowdown in Europe and China," said Mr Miyazaki.

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