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Japanese trade surplus broadly misses expectations in April

Japan's foreign trade surplus in April dropped 90.3% on an annual basis to ¥60.40 billion, significantly below the Econoday consensus estimate of ¥222.0 billion and March's reading of ¥528.50 billion, provisional unadjusted data from the country's Ministry of Finance showed.

The country's exports fell 2.4% year over year to ¥6.659 trillion in April, a larger decline than the Econoday expectations of a 1.5% decrease. Imports, on the other hand, rose 6.4% to ¥6.598 trillion, beating estimates of a 4.8% increase.

Exports to China dropped 6.3% to ¥1.233 trillion, whereas imports increased 5.9% to ¥1.551 trillion. Exports to the U.S. rose 9.6% to ¥1.410 trillion and imports rose 2.3% to ¥687.04 billion.

Meanwhile, seasonally adjusted private-sector machinery orders, excluding volatile orders, rose by 3.8% month over month in March, higher than the 1.8% increase in February, separate data from the country's Cabinet Office showed.

Volatile orders include orders from ships and electric power companies. Including these, private-sector machinery orders dropped 3.5% to ¥984.7 billion, following a 1.1% drop to ¥1.021 trillion in February.

The total value of machine orders received in March fell 4.3% month over month to ¥2.254 trillion, against the Econoday consensus estimate of no change for the month.