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Japan exports surge at fastest in nearly 4 years on global demand

[TOKYO] Booming shipments of cars and electronics in August drove up Japan's exports at the fastest pace in nearly four years, further evidence that overseas demand is strong enough to support healthy economic growth.

The 18.1 per cent annual increase in exports was the fastest since November 2013 and handily beat the median estimate for a 14.7 per cent annual rise seen in a Reuters poll.

August's export result was well up on July's 13.4 per cent, and marked a ninth straight month of expansion.

Export growth is seen likely to continue as the global economy remains on a solid footing, which should underpin policymakers' confidence in Japan's economic outlook.

Market voices on:

The Bank of Japan is expected to keep monetary policy on hold at a meeting ending on Thursday as inflation remains confusingly low despite data pointing to solid economic growth.

Japan's exports rose 10.4 per cent by volume in August from a year ago, following a 2.6 per cent annual increase in July.

A pickup in shipments of cars, car parts, and semiconductor manufacturing equipment increased Japan's year-on-year exports to the United States in August by 21.8 per cent versus an 11.5 per cent annual increase in the previous month.

China-bound exports rose 25.8 per cent year-on-year in August, faster than a 17.6 per cent annual increase in July as Japan shipped more electronic screens panels and plastics.

Imports rose 15.2 per cent in the year to August, versus the median estimate of an 11.8 per cent increase.

The trade balance came to a surplus of 113.6 billion yen (S$1.37 billion), versus the median estimate of a 93.9 billion yen surplus.