Japan export growth slows

Japan export growth slows

Japan's export growth slowed for the sixth consecutive month in August, as a strong yen and cooling global demand rattled an already fragile recovery.

The value of exports climbed 15.8% from a year earlier to 5.22 trillion yen (€46bn), according to the Ministry of Finance.

Exports expanded more than 23% in July and 28% in June.

The deceleration poses a major risk for Japan, which depended on the rest of the world to make up for lacklustre demand at home.

The country turned to high-growth countries in Asia, particularly China, to drive the economy.

But that expansion is under threat as exporters such as Toyota and Sony face the onslaught of a strong yen, which hit fresh 15-year highs against the US dollar this month and led the government to intervene in currency markets for the first time in six years.

An appreciating yen shrinks the value of repatriated profits for exporters and makes their products less competitive overseas.

Exports to China, Japan's biggest trading partner, rose 18.5% in August from a year earlier, while those to the US climbed 8.8%. Shipments to the European Union expanded 13.7%.

Imports in August rose 17.9% to 5.12 trillion yen (€45.2bn), resulting in a lower trade surplus of 103.2 billion yen (€910.4m).

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