Japanese trade data for June has beaten expectations for June, although in year-on-year terms the value of both imports and exports continued to contract.
According to the Ministry of Finance, the value of imports fell by 18.8% compared to the levels of a year earlier. Although ahead of forecasts for a larger drop of 19.7%, the decline was steeper than the 13.8% drop registered in the year to May.
On the other side of the ledger, the value of exports slid by 7.4%, a figure that was ahead of the 11.6% contraction expected and 11.3% decline seen in May.
In volume terms, exports increased by 2.9% compared to the levels of a year earlier, the first increase registered in four months.
In the year to June, the Japanese yen appreciated by 15.7% against the US dollar, contributing to the ugly decline in the value of imports and exports seen over the same period.
By major export destination, the value of exports to China fell by 10% from June 2015, an improvement on the 14.9% decline seen in the 12 months to May.
Overall imports to Asia fell by 10.6% over the same period, again ahead of the 13% decline seen in May. The value of exports to the US fell by a smaller amount, dropping 6.5% from 10.7% seen previously.
As a result of the smaller-than-expected decline in exports, the nation’s trade balance swung back to a surplus of 692.8 billion yen. This topped expectations for a surplus of 494.8 billion yen and the 40.7 billion yen deficit recorded in May.