Japan's Exports Continue To Rise

TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's exports rose for the seventh straight month in June, driven by machinery and steel products, indicating that overseas demand continues to underpin recovery in the world's No. 2 economy even amid a stronger yen.

Exports climbed 27.7 percent from a year earlier to 5.87 trillion yen ($67.2 billion), the Finance Ministry said Monday. With demand lackluster at home, Japan has depended on Asia, and China in particular, to fuel its recovery.

The sustained growth in shipments comes despite a rising yen, which can make Japan's exports of cars, electronic gadgets and other goods less competitive in overseas markets.

A central bank survey last month showed that companies were expecting an average of 90.18 yen to the dollar this fiscal year through March 2011. The dollar fell to 86-yen levels earlier this month and was trading in the mid-87 yen range Monday.

For the April-June quarter, exports expanded 33.2 percent, slower than the 43.3 percent growth recorded in the previous quarter.

Exports to China, Japan's biggest trading partner, rose 22 percent in June, while those to the U.S. were up 21.1 percent. Shipments to the European Union expanded 9 percent.

Demand for iron and steel products shot up more than 46 percent, and machinery exports jumped almost 50 percent. Motor vehicle shipments increased 40 percent.

Imports in June rose 26.1 percent to 5.18 trillion yen ($59.3 billion), resulting in a trade surplus of 687 billion yen ($7.9 billion).

Economists expect exports to slow in the months ahead as governments around the world phase out stimulus spending and turn to controlling spending and debt.

Even in booming China, data last week showed that growth in factory output and state company revenues has fallen. Economic growth slowed to 10.3 percent over a year earlier in the second quarter, down from its blistering 11.9 percent first quarter pace.

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