Tue, Oct 25, 2011 - Page 10 News List

Japan exports rise for second straight month

RECOVERY:The finance ministry’s report of outbound shipments rising 2.4 percent last month was a welcome announcement amid concern over the EU debt problem

AP and AFP, TOKYO

Japanese exports last month rose for a second straight month, showing a recovery is under way from the tsunami disaster even as manufacturers face a strong yen and weak global economy.

The finance ministry yesterday said that exports last month rose 2.4 percent from a year earlier. Exports had declined for five months in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated industry in northeast Japan.

The ministry said the value of last month’s exports totaled ¥5.98 trillion (US$78.2 billion), while imports came in at ¥5.68 trillion, up 12 percent. That gave Japan a trade surplus of ¥300 billion.

Exports to China, Japan’s biggest overseas market, rose 2.7 percent to ¥1.11 trillion.

Exports to the US were nearly flat at ¥924.8 billion, an increase of 0.4 percent, while imports from the US grew 1.8 percent to ¥485.4 billion.

The improvement in trade data comes amid growing worries about the health of the global economy as Europe struggles to resolve its chronic debt crisis and US unemployment remains high.

Japanese manufacturers such as Toyota Motor Corp are also being threatened by the strong yen, which can make their products more expensive in overseas markets.

The yen eased yesterday from a new record high, after Japanese Minister of Finance Jun Azumi again warned he could take action to stem the currency’s strength.

The US dollar stood at ¥76.31, regaining some of the ground it had lost with its drop to ¥75.78 during New York trade on Friday.

Azumi told the press early yesterday that he could take “decisive steps” to tame the yen’s rapid rise.

He called the yen’s advance to the new record “unfortunate,” because it came from “speculative moves” and “does not reflect the real economy.”

Tokyo dealers said the market was not likely to push the US dollar to another all-time low in Asian trade because of fears over possible Japanese intervention.

However, Barclays Capital chief strategist Masafumi Yamamoto said the probability of a currency market intervention from Japan was low as long as European and US shares stayed firm.

“You can expect the yen will weaken by itself as long as share prices are firm,” he told Dow Jones Newswires.

However, he said investors were wary about a possible intervention or monetary easing by the Bank of Japan.

Meanwhile, the euro bought US$1.3854 and ¥105.73, compared with US$1.3896 and ¥105.89 in New York on Friday.

The euro was likely to remain largely quiet ahead of another round of meetings of European leaders tomorrow, Yamamoto said.

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