Shipments abroad slid 23.2 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 30.6 percent decline in September, the Finance Ministry said today in Tokyo.
The figures suggest Japan’s rebound from its deepest postwar recession will extend into this quarter as Asian demand spurs sales for manufacturers from Honda Motor Co. to Hitachi Construction Machinery Co. Exports helped the economy expand at the fastest pace in more than two years in the third quarter, even as prices of goods declined and the yen gained.
Imports slid 35.6 percent from a year earlier, the ministry said. The improvement in exports helped the trade surplus climb to 807.1 billion yen ($9.1 billion), the biggest since March 2008. From a month earlier, exports rose 2.5 percent, the fastest pace since April.
Honda Motor, Japan’s second-largest carmaker, almost tripled its full-year profit forecast as government stimulus measures boosted demand for fuel-efficient vehicles. Hitachi Construction Machinery, Asia’s second-largest excavator maker, returned to profit last quarter as cost cuts countered a sales slide triggered by the global recession.
Shipments to Asia fell 15 percent from a year earlier, easing from a 22.2 percent drop in September, the ministry said. An index measuring the volume of exports to Asia rose to the highest in a year. Exports to China, Japan’s biggest overseas customer, slipped 14.3 percent, compared with a 13.8 percent decline the previous month.
Sales to the U.S. fell 27.6 percent, moderating from September’s 33.9 percent decrease as retail sales in Japan’s second-largest market picked up. Exports to Europe slid 29 percent after slumping 38.6 percent.