Weaker-than-expected Japanese export numbers on Wednesday suggest that even a strong boost from a weak yen may not be enough to protect exporters from slowing demand in China, analysts say.
Japanese exports rose 7.4 percent in June from a year earlier, below market expectations for a 10.3 percent rise and down from a 10.1 percent annual jump in May.
Exports to China, one of Japan's biggest trading partners, rose 4.8 percent year-on-year in June compared with an 8.3 percent rise in May.
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"The export data was not overly bad, but exports to China were relatively weak when you consider the steep decline in the yen should be boosting exports," said Masayuki Kichikawa, chief Japan economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
There are growing signs of weakness in China's economy, which slowed for a second straight quarter in the second quarter of this year. An HSBC survey of China's manufacture sector released on Wednesday for instance showed manufacturing activity shrank for a third straight month in July.
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"At the moment, the slowdown of the Chinese economy is a downside risk for Japanese exports and it is worth noting," said Long Hanhua Wang, Japan economist at the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Slowing demand from China is likely to be a concern for Japan's government, which has pledged to revive the economy. A key part of its plan is a weak yen, which gives the country's exporters an edge in overseas markets.