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     TOKYO (MNI) - Japan's exports and imports both fell in May, weighed by
growing uncertainties in the global environment and sluggish domestic demand,
data released Wednesday by the Ministry of Finance showed.
     The key points from the data:
     --Japan's exports dipped further, falling 7.8% year-on-year in May after
April's 2.4% fall, marking the sixth straight monthly fall. The drop was
marginally better than MNI's median economist forecast, which projected an 8.1%
decrease.
     --Imports fell 1.5% year-on-year in May, sharply down from the 6.4% gain
reported in April, ending the recovery trend seen in the previous months. The
rise missed MNI's median of 1.5% growth. 
     --With imports outpacing exports in value terms, May's trade balance showed
a deficit of Y967.1 billion, far below the Y60.4 billion surplus recorded in
April. The balance came in better than an MNI median deficit of Y1.14 trillion.
     --Exports to China and the European Union slumped 9.7% and 7.1%
respectively, compared with last month's 6.3% and 2.6% falls. Exports to the
U.S. increased 3.3%, slower than 9.6% growth reported in April.  
     --Imports from China and the U.S. fell 0.9% and 1.6% in May from 5.9% and
2.3% gains previously. However, imports from EU continued growing strongly -- up
8.7% in May, after 10.6% in April.
--MNI Beijing Bureau; tel: +86 (10) 8532-5998; email: flora.guo@marketnews.com
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2225; email: les.commons@marketnews.com
[TOPICS: MAJDS$,MAUDR$,MAUDS$,M$A$$$,M$J$$$,M$U$$$]
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 | les.commons@marketnews.com