Japanese trade data for February continued to underwhelm with exports yet again undershooting expectations.
From a year earlier, exports contracted by 4.0%, the fifth annual decline in a row. Though an improvement on the 12.9% drop seen in January, the figure missed expectations for a smaller decline of 3.1%.
By destination, exports fell by 6.1% to Asia, although those to China rebounded by 5.1% having tanked 17.5% in January. Those to the US grew by 0.2%, an improvement on the 5.3% decline reported previously.
On the other side of the ledger, imports contracted by 14.2%, smaller than both the 18.0% decline of January and expectations for a drop of 15.2%.
The national trade balance swung back to surplus as a result of the two, coming in at 242.8 billion yen. The figure slightly undershot forecasts for an increase to 388.6 billion.