Japan exports fall in October for first time in 14 months

Neelabh Chaturvedi
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Japanese exports fell for the first time in 14 months in October, exacerbating concerns for an economy already in recession and struggling to muster inflation despite aggressive monetary stimulus.

Exports slumped 2.1 percent from a year earlier in October, while imports fell 13.4 percent, data from the Ministry of Finance showed on Thursday.

The decline in exports was in line with forecasts in a Reuters poll, although the slump in imports was much more stark than forecast, as economists had expected a decline of 8.6 percent.

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The decline in exports portends renewed weakness in the world's third-largest economy as shipments had until now held up relatively well despite weaknesses in other pockets.

Thursday's reading, which follows the gross domestic product (GDP) print from earlier this week, could revive calls for additional steps to kickstart the economy.

"I believe that the government is likely to have sizable supplementary budget for fiscal year 2015. The size should be between 3 trillion yen ($24.29 billion) to 3.5 trillion yen,which is about 0.6 percent of GDP," Tomo Kinoshita, chief economist Japan at Nomura, told CNBC.

The slowdown in China - which accounted for just over 18 percent of Japan's exports in October - played a role. Exports to China fell 3.6 percent, data from the Ministry of Finance showed.

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Brazil, the once-booming emerging market heavyweight that has seen more somber times of late, also bought fewer goods from Japan. Japanese exports to the country fell 16.7 percent from a year earlier.