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Japan May exports jump 14.9 pct year/year - MOF

TOKYO, June 19 (Reuters) - Japan's exports surged 14.9 percent in May from a year earlier due to higher shipments of cars and steel, in a sign of robust global demand, Ministry of Finance data showed on Monday. The rise compares with a 16.1 percent jump expected by economists in a Reuters poll and followed a 7.5 percent rise in April. Imports rose 17.8 percent in May, versus the median estimate for a 14.8 percent increase. The trade balance came to a deficit of 203.4 billion yen ($1.83 billion), versus the median estimate for a 76.0 billion yen surplus. For background, please see this PREVIEW To view full tables, go to the website of the Ministry of Finance at: http://www.customs.go.jp/toukei/info/indexte.htm ($1 = 110.9200 yen)

(Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim)