Japan's exports rose in April to mark their fifth consecutive month of gains, as shipments of semiconductors and steel rose, signaling that stronger foreign demand could support an economic recovery stable.
Exports rose 7.5% in April from the previous year, below the median annual growth estimate of 7.8%, data from the Ministry of Finance showed Monday. It rose 12.0 per cent in March.
Data also showed that Japan's trade surplus with the United States declined. Exports to the United States rose 2.6 percent in April from the previous year, earning for the third consecutive month due to higher shipments of cars and auto parts. But Japan's trade surplus with the United States fell 4.2% in April from 586.7 billion yen (5.27 billion US dollars) last year.
Japan's exports are expected to continue to increase as global economic growth increases, but concerns about US President Donald Trump's promises to adopt protectionist trade policies are undermining Japan's export-dependent prospects.
"Japan's exports will continue to grow, and imports will likely increase as domestic production resumes," said Norio Miyagawa, senior economist at Mizuho Securities.
The decline in Japan's trade surplus with the US, however, could put pressure on Japan as it is more difficult for Trump to justify criticizing Japan for its business practices.
The Japanese economy grew in the first quarter at the fastest pace of a year to mark the longest period of expansion in a decade, thanks to strong exports and a considerable increase in Private consumption.
In terms of volume, exports rose 4.1 percent in April from last year, the third consecutive month of gains, another sign of recovery of claims abroad .
Exports to China rose 14.8% yoy in April, the sixth consecutive month of gains, boosted by shipments of optical equipment, automotive and steel .