Japan’s exports growth is seen to have eased in November, according to a survey on Friday, indicating a dimming economic outlook in the midst of the easing global demand and a US-China trade dispute.
Exports were seen increasing 1.8 percent in November from a year earlier, slowing from an 8.2 percent rise in October, the survey of 15 economists showed.
Imports likely expanded 11.5 percent last month from a year earlier, resulting in a trade deficit of 600.3 billion yen, or $5.29 billion.
“Exports lack momentum, which is likely to continue due to factors such as a slowdown in global demand for IT-related products,” said Takumi Tsunoda, who is senior economist at Shinkin Central Bank Research Institute.
Export-led Japan, and many other economies, have come under a cloud in the face of a bitter US-China trade war as policy makers are concerned about a wider impact on global growth, investment and corporate earnings.
Koya Miyamae, who is senior economist at SMBC Nikko Securities, said given the natural disasters it’s difficult to gauge any potential effects of the US-China trade friction on Japan’s exports.
“It is true the pace of growth in Japan’s exports this year is sluggish compared with last year partly due to China’s slowdown. It needs a close watch to assess how global trade friction will affect the nation’s shipments,” Miyamae said.
The finance ministry will announce the trade data on December 19.
The survey also found the nationwide core consumer price index (CPI), which includes oil products but excludes volatile fresh food prices, increased 1.0 percent in November from a year earlier, the same rate as October and September.
“Wages are recovering modestly and consumer sentiment is not necessarily worsening,” said Takeshi Minami, who is chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute. “Consumer spending is seen picking up but it is not strong enough to boost prices, while the upwards effects on them from energy costs will be waning.”
The internal affairs ministry will release consumer prices data on December21.
The BOJ is set to keep its short-term interest rate at negative 0.1 percent and the 10-year government bond yield target at around zero percent at its policy meeting December 19 to 20, the survey said.
The economy contracted the most in over four years during the third quarter, as a series of natural disasters disrupted factory output and distribution network.
Analysts expect a rebound in growth in the current quarter but global trade worries and sluggish external demand have increased risks to the world’s largest economy.