Even though Japan's exports expanded for the 11th straight month, the pace of growth continued to slow in October due to stronger yen and weak overseas demand.
Exports are weakening mainly due to a stronger yen, which has been trading at 15-year highs against the US dollar. A high yen makes Japan's exports more expensive and therefore less attractive in overseas markets.
However, analysts have said weakening global growth also played a part in slowing down Japanese exports. “Growth in global demand is now weakening. The earlier boost from the rebound in world trade has run its course as activity has recovered close to pre-crisis levels. This, probably rather more than the strong yen, explains the recent declines in Japan's export volumes,” said Julian Jessop, Chief International Economist at Capital economics.
Exports rose 7.8 percent from a year earlier to 5,723.6 billion yen ($68.95 billion), the slowest growth since Nov 2009, from 14.3 percent growth in the previous month, while analysts expected a 10.2 percent gain.
Trade surplus rose 2.7 percent to 821.9 billion yen, smaller than the expected surplus of 871.1 billion yen.
Exports to China gained 17.5 percent in October from a year ago, compared with a 10.2 percent gain in September. Exports to the U.S. advanced 4.7 percent, against 10.4 percent gain in September. But exports to the Europe recorded its first fall in October with 1.9 percent decline.
Meanwhile, imports rose 8.7 percent in October, slowing from the 10 percent increase in the previous month and against economists' estimation of 11 percent rise.
Japan’s GDP rose at an annual 3.9 percent pace in the third quarter on back of higher consumer spending ahead of the expiration of a subsidy program for fuel-efficient cars, but analysts are expecting that the economy will lose momentum in December quarter.