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Japan books wider-than-expected trade deficit in July as exports extend drop

Japan's trade deficit in July widened 9.8% year over year to ¥249.59 billion, following a revised surplus of ¥589.64 billion in June, provisional unadjusted data from the Ministry of Finance showed.

The consensus estimate of economists polled by Econoday was for a trade deficit of ¥220 billion.

Exports declined for the eighth consecutive month, falling 1.6% to ¥6.643 trillion, in line with the Econoday consensus estimate. Imports dropped 1.2% to ¥6.893 trillion, compared with the Econoday consensus estimate of a 2.0% decline.

Exports to China fell 9.3% to ¥1.229 trillion, while imports climbed 2.8% to ¥1.613 trillion, logging a trade deficit of ¥383.77 billion. Exports to the U.S. climbed 8.4% to ¥1.355 trillion, while imports grew 3.5% to ¥776.00 billion, booking a surplus of ¥579.40 billion.

Exports to South Korea fell 6.9% in July, while imports dropped 8.6%. Japan and South Korea recently removed each other from their so-called white lists of preferred trading partners as tensions between the neighboring East Asian economist escalate.

As of Aug. 16, US$1 was equivalent to ¥106.32.