Japan exports rise more than expected in September, hopeful sign amid supply chain crunch

TOKYO (REUTERS) – Japan’s exports grew faster than expected in September to post a seventh straight month of double-digit growth, an encouraging sign for the economy as pandemic-led global supply chain snags threaten to derail a fragile recovery.

The data will be among factors the Bank of Japan will scrutinise when it releases fresh quarterly growth projections at its policy meeting later this month.

Exports rose 13 per cent in September from a year earlier, the Ministry of Finance’s trade data showed on Wednesday (Oct 20), compared with a median market forecast for an 11.0 per cent rise. It followed a 26.2 per cent increase in the previous month.

Shipments to China, Japan’s largest trading partner, rose 10.3 per cent in September year-on-year.

The data offers policymakers some relief over the outlook for Japan’s economy, which emerged from last year’s pandemic-induced doldrums thanks to robust global demand.

The world’s third-largest economy is expected to have expanded a meagre 0.8 per cent in the third quarter, a Reuters poll showed, as parts shortages and supply constraints caused by Asian factory shutdowns disrupted output of automakers.

Policymakers are under pressure to keep intact the fragile recovery, which has faced additional strains from a resurgence of the pandemic in other parts of Asia.

Japanese companies also face rising raw material costs, aggravated by a weaker yen, that could erode margins in a further blow to overall growth prospects.

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