Japanese export volumes continued to grow in October, assuaging fears that the country’s trade figures could drag down the overall economy.

The amount of exports was up 2 per cent on the year before – boosted by strength in electronic components. The value of exports was 8 per cent higher than in October 2004.

Exports to China rose 12.8 per cent by value, with an 8.9 per cent increase in exports to the US, where demand for Japanese cars proved strong.

While the trade figures would be welcomed as a sign of growth, many Japan economists place less importance on them than before, arguing that the domestic economy has started to generate its own growth.

The import figures for October were even stronger, however, narrowing Japan’s trade surplus by 28.8 per cent year-on-year to Y822.1bn. The value of imports rose 17.8 per cent, boosted by high crude oil prices and a weaker yen.

Credit Suisse First Boston said a “recovery in global economic momentum”, in particular in China and the eurozone,“ has positive implications for Japanese exporters”.

Takuji Aida, economist at Barclays Capital, said: “We see little possibility of an export slowdown hampering Japan’s economic expansion.” But he added: “Net exports are unlikely to contribute much to gross domestic product growth even if real exports continue to rise.”

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