Japan's exports slowed for a second straight month in August in an increasingly worrying sign that China's economic slowdown is hurting the world's third-biggest economy while shipments in Singapore slumped, increasing the chance that policymakers will inject fresh stimulus before too long.
The 3.1 percent annual increase in exports in August was smaller than the median estimate for 4.0 percent growth expected by economists in a Reuters poll, and less than July's 7.6 percent year-on-year rise.
In Singapore, exports on the month fell 4.6 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, compared to a 0.5 percent rise predicted in the survey and a 2.5 percent gain in July, trade agency International Enterprise Singapore said in a statement.
Slowing exports could increase the chance of additional monetary easing from the Bank of Japan, because this could lead to lower factory output, less economic activity and less momentum needed to offset deflationary pressure caused by a collapse in oil prices.
"Our house view is that the BOJ will ease again in January, but the economic data suggest an increasing chance the BOJ will move at the end of October," said Hidenobu Tokuda senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute.
"I wouldn't be surprised if exports started falling. This is worse than the BOJ anticipated."