Japanese exports slow further in August


Government data has today revealed a further slowdown in Japanese exports in August - the sixth consecutive month in which they have eased.

The figures raise concern that the economic recovery is faltering.

Exports rose 15.8% in August to 5.22 trillion yen on an annual basis - well below the 45.3% high seen in February.

Meanwhile, imports rose 17.9% to 5.12 trillion yen, the Government said.

Japan’s trade surplus fell 37.5% in the month versus a year ago to 103.2 billion yen ($1.22 billion) in August - contracting for the first time in 15 months on levels a year ago, the finance ministry said.

The figures come as the yen reached a 15-year high against the US dollar earlier this month - leading to the country’s central bank to take action to weaken its currency.

It was the first time in six years that such action had been taken.

A stronger yen has meant demand for exports has weakened – fuelling concerns for the recovery in the Japanese economy, which is the world’s second largest.

Japan was one of the first major economies to emerge from recession – in the second quarter of 2009 – boosted by exports.

Japan’s fragile recovery has raised concern among analysts. “We still face the risk of a double-dip recession,” according to Takahide Kiuchi, chief economist at Nomura Securities in Tokyo.

Today, Masaaki Shirakawa, the Governor of the Bank of Japan (BoJ) said further intervention has not been ruled out.

Speaking at a conference in Kobe, Masaaki Shirakawa said the Bank was “ready to implement appropriate action” if necessary.

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