In May, exports grew 2.4 percent year-on-year to ¥5740 billion, the smallest gain in nine months in spite of the weaker yen. Sales to Asia, which account for more than half of the country's total exports, rose 3.3 percent. Exports to Hong Kong increased by 8 percent, to China by 1.1 percent, and to Taiwan by 9.5 percent. Shipments to South Korea and Thailand declined by 0.7 percent and 2.5 percent respectively. Sales to the United States increased by 7.4 percent (21.3 percent in April) and to Western Europe declined by 2.1 percent.
By commodity, value of exports increased for electrical machinery (4.3 percent) and transport equipment (2.2 percent) while sales of manufactured goods declined by 4.8 percent.
Imports dropped by 8.7 percent year-on-year to ¥5956 billion, the fifth straight downward move as value of mineral fuels shipments decreased by 33.1 percent. The petroleum imports dropped by 31.7 percent and shipments of liquified natural were lower 44.1 percent.