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UPDATE 1-Japan's exports rise in July, underpin strengthening economy

(Adds detail, background)

* July exports up 13.4 pct vs f'cast +13.6 pct

* Shipments to U.S. rise 11.5 pct yr/yr

* Exports to Asia up 14.8 pct yr/yr

TOKYO, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Japan's exports rose for an eighth straight month in July driven by robust shipments to China and the United States, in a sign overseas demand rebounded from a lull in the previous quarter to underpin a steady economic recovery.

The data underscores the Bank of Japan's view that the world's third-largest economy is showing increasing signs of strength as private consumption adds momentum to an export-reliant recovery.

Total exports increased 13.4 percent in July from a year earlier, Ministry of Finance data showed on Thursday, roughly in line with a median market forecast for a 13.6 percent gain.

It followed a 9.7 percent increase in June.

Exports to the United States rose 11.5 percent in July from a year earlier, while those to Asia were up 14.8 percent, the data showed.

Shipments to China rose 17.6 percent, marking a ninth straight rising month.

Japan's economy expanded at the fastest pace in more than two years in the second quarter as consumer and company spending picked up, highlighting a long-awaited bounce in domestic demand.

Negative external demand, or exports minus imports, shaved off some growth in the quarter as shipments of information-technology goods to Asia slowed, though many analysts expect exports to remain firm in coming quarters.

The trade surplus with the United States rose 9.1 percent to 647 billion yen ($5.88 billion).

Japan's trade surplus has been a target of criticism by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration, which has called for cutting the U.S. trade deficit under his protectionist "America First" policies. ($1 = 110.0400 yen) (Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Eric Meijer)