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TOKYO, June 10 (Reuters) – Japanese imports likely jumped in May at the fastest pace in six months, buoyed by soaring commodity prices and the yen falling to its lowest level in two decades, according to a Reuters poll released on Friday.
Rising import costs are inflicting increasing hardship on Japanese households and domestically-focused businesses, raising questions about the central bank’s stance that a weak yen is good for the whole economy. economy.
Imports by value likely jumped 43.6% in May from a year earlier, marking the biggest single-month rise since November and accelerating from the 28.2% increase in April, according to the poll of 17 economists.
“Rising oil prices and the falling yen have inflated imports,” said Takumi Tsunoda, senior economist at the Shinkin Central Bank Research Institute.
Prices of yen-based imported goods soared a record 43.3% year-on-year in May, Bank of Japan data showed on Friday.
The poll showed exports likely rose 16.4% in May, slightly faster than April’s 12.5% rise.
But the larger rise in imports is expected to widen May’s trade deficit to 2.022 billion yen ($15.08 billion), closing in on January’s biggest one-month gap in eight years. Read more
“The main culprit for a growing trade gap would rather be exports, which could have grown faster,” Tsunoda said, adding that shipments of cars and other manufactured goods likely suffered from bottlenecks in the economy. supply due to COVID-19 lockdowns in China.
The poll also found that core machinery orders, a leading indicator of capital spending, are expected to fall 1.5% month-on-month in April after rising 7.1% in March.
The government will release trade figures at 8:50 a.m. on June 16 (23:50 GMT, June 15) and machinery orders data at 8:50 a.m. on June 15 (23:50 GMT, June 14).
($1 = 134.0800 yen)
Reporting by Kantaro Komiya; Editing by Kim Coghill
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