Japan’s exports were expected to drop for an eight straight month in May, weighed down by weak demand from Asian nations, a Reuters poll found.
The poll of 21 analysts found exports were expected to fall 10.4% last month from a year earlier, after a 10.1% decline in April.
Imports were seen likely to decline 13.8% from a year earlier, falling for a 16th straight month, to result in a trade surplus of ¥40bn ($384mn).
“The momentum of the global economic recovery is weak and shipments to Asia remain stagnant,” said Takumi Tsunoda, senior economist at Shinkin Central Bank.
“If recent renewed yen rises continue and the currency heads towards ¥100 per dollar or beyond that level and stays firm for a while, there will be an adverse impact on exports – with some time lag.”
Tsunoda added that some impact from April’s earthquakes in southern Kyushu island could remain in May’s vehicle shipment figures.
The dollar fell to around a two-year low at ¥103.555 overnight after the Bank of Japan refrained from fresh stimulus amid market fears about the UK referendum next week.
The finance ministry will release the trade data on June 20. Japan’s economy expanded at an annualised 1.9% in the first quarter as capital spending fell less than was first reported, but worries remain over slow consumer spending and weak exports.
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