Japan logged its first trade deficit in four months in May despite growth in exports, as imports soared on higher energy bills, government data showed Monday.
Japan logged a surprise deficit of 203 billion yen ($1.8 billion), according to data from the finance ministry, despite market expectations that the world's third largest economy would have posted a surplus.
Exports in May rose 14.9% from a year earlier to 5.85 trillion yen thanks to an increase in shipments of cars and steel, chalking up growth for the sixth consecutive month.
But imports expanded faster, rising 17.8% to 6.05 trillion yen, boosted by heavier costs for liquefied natural gas, coal and crude oil.
Japan's politically sensitive surplus with the United States rose 19% to 411 billion yen as exports increased 11.6%.
U.S. President Donald Trump has vowed to root out "unfair" trade practices around the world and target other countries including Japan.© 2017 AFP