May 24, 2017 / 8:33 AM / 2 months ago

Japan government keeps its views of the economy unchanged in May

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File photo: Workers load containers onto trucks from a cargo ship at a port in Tokyo, Japan, March 16, 2016.Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's government has kept unchanged for May its overall assessment of the economy - that it is recovering gradually, though pockets of weakness remain.

On all topics evaluated, which include household spending, capital expenditure and exports, the government repeated the views it expressed for April.

"The economy is in moderate recovery, but delays in improvement can be seen in some parts," the Cabinet Office said in its monthly economic report on Wednesday, using the same expression for the sixth consecutive month.

Japan's economy has shown signs of life in recent months, with exports and factory output benefiting from a recovery in global demand.

Business sentiment is improving, consumer spending is continuing to recover on the whole, capital expenditure is showing signs of picking up and exports are recovering, the Cabinet Office said in its report.

The economy is expected to recover gradually as employment and wages continue to improve, but uncertainty in overseas economies and fluctuations in financial markets warrant attention, the report also said.

Japan's economy grew at its fastest pace in a year in the first quarter to mark the longest period of expansion in a decade, thanks to robust exports and a helpful boost from private consumption.

However, Japanese manufacturing activity expanded at the slowest pace in six months in May as export orders slowed, a preliminary private survey showed on Tuesday, in a warning sign that global demand may be weakening.

Confidence among Japanese manufacturers receded in May for the first time in nine months after hitting a decade-high level April, a Reuters survey also found, showing guarded optimism in a nascent export-led economic recovery.

Reporting by Minami Funakoshi; Editing by Richard Borsuk

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