Japan posted a merchandise trade deficit of 517.382 billion yen in July, the Ministry of Finance said on Wednesday - sinking into the red for the eighth time in 10 months.
The headline figure was sharply below forecasts for a shortfall of 270.0 billion yen following the downwardly revised 60.3 billion surplus in June. The original reading was for a surplus of 62.7 billion yen.
Exports plummeted 8.1 percent on year - also well shy of expectations for a decline of 2.9 percent following the 2.3 percent contraction in the previous month. It also marked the second straight month of contraction.
Exports to all of Asia shed 9.0 percent on year to 2.956 trillion yen, while exports to China alone plummeted an annual 11.9 percent to 1.009 trillion yen.
Exports to the United States added 4.7 percent on year to 934.186 billion yen, while exports to the European Union plummeted an annual 25.1 percent to 502.327 billion yen.
Imports were up 2.1 percent on year versus forecasts for an increase of 3.0 percent after shedding 2.2 percent a month earlier.
Imports from Asia added 2.8 percent on year to 2.629 trillion yen, while imports from China alone rose an annual 3.3 percent to 1.259 trillion yen.
Imports from the United States were up 7.6 percent on year to 512.324 billion yen, while imports from the European Union climbed 10.6 percent to 597.602 billion yen.
The adjusted trade deficit came in at 325.7 billion yen, beating forecasts for a shortfall of 451.5 billion yen following the downwardly revised 300.8 billion yen deficit in June.
Upon the release of the data, the Japanese yen showed little movement against major currencies, trading near 79.25 against the U.S. dollar, 98.84 versus the euro, 82.30 against the Swiss franc and 125.05 versus the British pound.
by RTT Staff Writer
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