Japanese trade data for July has beaten expectations, but a shallower-than-expected decline in imports resulted in a blowout in the trade deficit.
In annualised terms, exports grew by 7.6% to 6.663 trillion yen, exceeding expectations for an increase of 5.5%, although the figure was below the 9.5% growth rate previously seen in June.
Over the year, exports to the US grew by 18.8%, outpacing growth of 7.8% to Europe, 6.1% to Asia and 4.2% to China.
On the other side of the ledger, imports declined by 3.2% to 6.931 trillion yen, steeper than the 2.9% contraction of June but ahead of expectations for a fall of 7.9%.
With imports declining at a slower-than-expected rate, the trade surplus ballooned to 268.1 billion yen. The figure was far greater than the 69 billion yen deficit of June and expectations for a narrowing to 56.7 billion yen.
While well above expectations for July, the deficit was 72.7% below the 966.5 billion yen figure of a year earlier.