The nation’s customs-cleared trade surplus for the month of May soared 222.2 percent from the same period last year to 738.3 billion yen, marking the second straight month of increase, according to figures released June 18.

The preliminary figures announced by the Finance Ministry also showed that the surplus with the United States rose 93 percent, while the one with the European Union surged 230.5 percent. The growth in the surplus was affected by the 2-percentage point increase in the consumption tax implemented in April, ministry officials said, claiming further monitoring of trade figures would be needed before it could be determined whether there had been a change in the declining trend of the surplus.

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