Japan's exports fell for a fifth month, hampered by trade tensions with China and weak demand in Europe, pushing the world's third-largest economy closer to recession ahead of December elections.
Shipments fell 6.5% in October from a year earlier, leaving a trade deficit of 549 billion yen (US$6.7 billion), the Finance Ministry said in Tokyo on Wednesday. That compared with the median forecast of 25 economists for a 4.9% decline in exports. Imports were down 1.6%.
Japan will probably slide into recession this quarter on weakness in domestic consumption and falling exports, which account for about 15% of the economy. While the yen touched a seven-month low this week on speculation that opposition leader Shinzo Abe will be elected and force more central bank easing, the currency is still more than 30% higher than five years ago, hurting exporters profits.
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