TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japanese exports rose 2.4 per cent in May from a year earlier, up for the ninth straight month, Ministry of Finance data showed on Wednesday, underscoring a gradual recovery in external demand.
The rise compared with a 3.5 per cent increase expected by economists in a Reuters poll. It followed an 8.0 percent gain in the prior month.
Imports fell 8.7 percent in the year to May, versus economists' median estimate of a 7.5 per cent decline. That brought the trade balance to a deficit of 216.0 billion yen (S$2.65 billion), compared with a 226.0 billion yen deficit expected by economists.