Japan's exports fell for a 12th straight month in September from a year earlier, official data showed, as the yen's gains undermined export prices, but a rising volume of shipments points to a tentative sign of pickup in global demand.
The data will be followed later this week by other indicators including September's household spending which is expected to underscore weakness in private consumption - which constitutes about 60 percent of the economy.
The data will be scrutinized by the Bank of Japan at its Oct. 31-Nov. 1 policy meeting, where it issues new economic and price forecasts. The central bank is expected to hold off from expanding stimulus after having just revamped its policy framework last month, sources say.
Ministry of Finance data issued on Monday showed Japan's exports fell 6.9 percent in September from a year earlier, following a 9.6 percent decline in August, dragged down by U.S.-bound shipments of cars, China-bound shipments of electronics parts and exports of steel.
The result is a little less gloomy than the median forecast in a Reuters poll of economists for a 10.4 percent fall as the yen's 16 percent gains versus the dollar from a year earlier hurt the value of shipments.
By destination, exports to China - Japan's largest trading partner - fell 10.6 percent in September from a year earlier, marking the seventh straight month of annual declines.