Here's the big Chinese and Japanese economic data that landed on your day off

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It’s a short week for many in Australia thanks to the Queen’s birthday long weekend and if you experienced anything like Sydney’s weather, then economic data was probably the furthest thing from your mind.

But now it’s time to recap the big data releases you might have missed. There were two major data prints on Monday – Chinese trade figures for May and revised Q1 GDP data from Japan.

Here’s a quick wrap on both.

China May trade data

From a year earlier, exports declined by 2.5%. The figure was an improvement on the 6.4% contraction recorded in the year to April and topped expectations for a decline of 5.0%.

While exports beat, imports remained weak, contracting 17.6% from May 2014. The figure was well below the median market forecast a decline of 10.7% and was larger than the 16.2% drop reported in April.

With exports contracting at a far slower pace than imports, the nation’s trade surplus ballooned to $US59.49 billion. The reading was above the $US44.95 billion figure expected and was the third-largest surplus recorded on record.

From an Australian trade perspective, iron ore imports fell by 11.6% during the month. In the first five months of the year iron ore imports have totalled 378 million tonnes, down 1% from the same period a year earlier.

Mirroring the decline in iron ore, coal imports slumped 28.6% from April, leaving the annual contraction at 40.6%.

Japan revised Q1 GDP

Having initially been reported as quarterly growth of 0.7%, something that left the seasonally-adjusted annual rate at 2.4%, March quarter GDP was revised sharply higher.

According to Japan’s Cabinet office the economy grew 1.0% in the three months to March, leaving the annual rate at 3.9%.

Not only did the rate mark the fastest pace of growth recorded since the same quarter a year earlier it was well above expectations for an increase of 2.7%.

A sharp upward revision to business capital expenditure, 2.7% from 0.4% reported in the preliminary estimate, was largely behind the improved headline reading.

The surge in business spending, along with an increase in inventories and 0.4% lift in private consumption, were the main catalysts that drove economic growth over the quarter.

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