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Jul 25, 12:20 AM EDT

Japan sees trade surplus in June as imports drop 19 percent

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TOKYO (AP) -- Japan reports it posted a better-than-expected trade surplus in June, as imports fell nearly 19 percent, outpacing a more modest decline in exports.

The customs data reported Monday showed a 692.8 billion yen ($6.5 billion) surplus, compared with a 60.9 billion yen deficit in June 2015.

Economists had forecasts larger declines for both imports and exports, which could suffer with the recent strengthening of the Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar.

Japan's exports to the U.S., its biggest overseas market, fell 6.5 percent in June from a year earlier, while exports to China, its largest trading partner, dropped 10 percent.

Shipments of vehicles, chemicals and machinery fell year-on-year. At the same time, imports of oil, coal and gas dropped by over a third in value, in part reflecting lower prices.

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