Japan’s exports to the United States rose for the seventh consecutive month in May on a year-on-year basis, jumping 38.2 percent to $11.14 billion, according to preliminary figures released by the Finance Ministry on Wednesday.
Japan’s imports from the U.S. also increased in May, albeit at a paltry pace of 2.8 percent, totaling $6.96 billion. It was the fifth successive monthly growth on a year-on-year basis.
As a result, Japan’s trade surplus with the U.S. expanded for four months in a row in May on a year-on-year basis, widening 224.0 percent to $4.18 billion.
The robust growth in U.S.-bound shipments in May was led by autos, which soared a whopping 128.5 percent in terms of value. Shipments of auto parts also rose 61.9 percent in terms of value.
The sharp rise in U.S.-bound exports in May reflects a big drop a year earlier.
In May last year, Japan’s exports to the U.S. slumped 14.7 percent on a year-on-year basis, as the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan in March 2011 caused serious disruptions to supply chains for Japanese automakers and other manufacturers.
Japan is now the world’s third-largest economy after the U.S. and China and is heavily dependent on exports for growth. The U.S. is Japan’s second-largest trading partner after China.
In May, Japan’s exports to the rest of the world rose for the third straight month on a year-on-year basis, increasing 10.0 percent to $65.44 billion, while its overall imports rose for 29 months in succession, growing 9.3 percent to $76.78 billion.
As a result, Japan incurred a deficit of $11.34 billion in its trade with the rest of the world in May. It was the third consecutive monthly deficit. The deficit in May was the biggest on record for the month.
The overall export growth in May was led by autos and auto parts, which surged 87.4 percent and 46.1 percent, respectively, in terms of value. The overall import growth in May was fueled by liquefied natural gas (LNG), which rose 44.3 percent in terms of value.
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