Sales for half of the nation’s six key business service industries declined in May from a year earlier, while those for the other three increased or remained the same.

Payments made with credit cards in May rose 0.7 percent from a year earlier to 2.04 trillion yen, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Wednesday in a preliminary report.

But the value of credit card payments overseas plunged 23.6 percent in the latest reporting month due to a decline in overseas trips stemming from the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, a METI official said in a briefing on the report.

Orders received by engineering companies jumped 47.7 percent to 786.17 billion yen as a result of large-lot contracts for chemical plants in Russia and the Middle East.

The value of contracts of one year or less signed by leasing companies was unchanged from a year earlier. The value of contracts with terms longer than one year edged down 2.3 percent.

Revenues of information-services firms tumbled 11.2 percent, due partly to a lack of hit game-software products.

Sales at advertising-related firms slipped 3.4 percent.

Of the 12 major categories of providers of services to individual customers only, eight posted a gain in revenues, ranging between 0.4 and 16.4 percent.

The remaining four sectors include movie operators, which marked a decline of 21.6 percent, and operators of theme and amusement parks, which recorded a fall of 14.4 percent.

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