Japan has recorded strong increases in its import and export performance for May 2017, with analysts taking the performance as a positive sign for the future.
Official data from Japan's ministry of finance showed that exports were up by 14.9 per cent year over year, marking a strong rebound from last May's weak performance, caused in part by the Kumamoto earthquake in April 2016.
Although this was lower than economists' predictions of an increase closer to 16 per cent, it was nevertheless the biggest rise since January 2015, nearly doubling the pace of growth seen in April.
Imports, meanwhile, rose more than expected in May, with a 17.8 per cent increase that was the largest in more than three years. This was partly due to increased demand for intermediate goods required for manufacturing.
Because import growth outpaced exports, the country recorded an unexpected trade deficit of 203.4 billion yen (€1.63 billion) for the month.
Takeshi Minami, chief Japan economist at the Norinchukin Research Institute, said: "Exports are solid. Today's report confirms that the shipments will continue to drive Japan's economy in coming months, feeding gradually to capital spending and household spending."