Japan’s exports rose more than expected in September, supporting the nation’s moderate recovery from the pandemic.

The value of exports gained 4.3% from a year earlier, led by shipments of cars and medical supplies in the first overall rise in three months, the Finance Ministry reported Thursday. Economists had forecast a 3% increase. Imports fell 16.3%, dragged down by crude oil, liquid natural gas and coal.

The trade balance swung to a surplus of ¥62.4 billion ($417 million).