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Japan's exports still not getting a weak-yen boost

Japan's exports rose 9.8 percent in February from a year earlier, well below analyst expectations in a Reuters poll for a 12.4 percent rise.

The increase still marked a recovery from January when exports rose an annual 9.5 percent as the Lunar New Year slowed shipments.

"There will be continued concerns about the trade numbers and the benefits of the weak yen will always be in focus when these numbers come out," Lim Say Boon, chief investment officer at DBS Private Bank told CNBC Asia's "Squawk Box".

The yen weakened just over 20 percent against the dollar in 2013. Japan's policy makers have been hoping that a weak yen, which gives the country a competitive edge in export markets, will help revive the world's third biggest economy.

Akio Kon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Imports rose 9 percent on-year versus expectations for a 7.4 percent increase and a revised 25.1 percent gain in January.

Japan's trade balance stood at a deficit of 800.3 billion yen ($7.9 billion) in February, well below January's record trade gap of 2.79 trillion yen.

"With regards to the trade numbers, the game isn't over yet," said Lim. "And a large part of the weakness in the trade data is due to fuel prices. Fuel prices have been firm, the currency has been weak, the nuclear power stations have been shut. So a lot depends on restarting of nuclear power stations in Japan," he added.

In the wake of a devastating earthquake and tsunami three years ago that triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, Japan turned away from nuclear power plants. This in turn led to increased demand for energy imports.

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