Japan posted a merchandise trade surplus of 797.3 billion yen in March, the Ministry of Finance said on Wednesday – up 32.1 percent on year.
That exceeded expectations for 499.2 billion yen and was up sharply from 3.4 billion yen in February.
Exports were up 2.1 percent on year to 7.381 trillion yen, shy of expectations for 5.6 percent but up from the 1.8 percent gain in the previous month.
Exports to Asia were up 4.5 percent on year to 4.033 trillion yen, while exports to China alone jumped an annual 10.8 percent to 1.439 trillion yen.
Exports to the United States added 0.2 percent to 1.355 trillion yen, while exports to the European Union gained an annual 0.3 percent to 803.440 billion yen.
Imports dipped 0.6 percent on year to 6.584 trillion yen versus forecasts for a gain of 6.0 percent after surging 16.5 percent a month earlier.
Imports from Asia fell 6.0 percent on year to 3.028 trillion yen, while imports from China alone plummeted an annual 16.8 percent to 1.348 trillion yen.
Imports from the United States added 0.6 percent to 732.778 billion yen, while imports from the European Union jumped 11.7 percent on year to 819.283 billion yen.
The adjusted trade surplus was 119.2 billion yen, exceeding forecasts for 98.5 billion yen following the 201.5 billion yen deficit in February.