Japanese car exports to U.S. get boost from weak yen

The weak yen is having positive effects on Japanese vehicle exports, albeit slowly, giving carmakers some room to cut prices, analysts say.

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Japan's exports rose for a ninth consecutive month in November, led by car shipments to the United States and China, a sign the weak yen and a recovery in global demand are energizing a major growth driver in the world's third-biggest economy.

The volume of cars shipped to China and the United States rose by 185 percent and 13.2 percent respectively, with the jump in China sales occurring a year after a boycott of Japanese products in China in a row over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

A steady recovery in the U.S. economy boosted demand for Japanese cars there, with the weak yen giving a competitive edge to exporters such as Toyota Motor Corp., analysts said.

"The weak yen is having its effects on Japanese exports albeit slowly, giving carmakers some room to cut prices," said Taro Saito, senior economist at NLI Research Institute.

"As for China, you cannot expect demand there to accelerate from now on as the Chinese economy is heading for a stable slowdown," Saito said.

While the yen has fallen around 16 percent against the dollar this year, export growth has so far largely fallen short of early expectations, falling 0.2 percent in November from the previous month on a seasonally adjusted basis.

"Demand from Asia helped Japanese exports in November. The data confirmed a continued pickup in Japan's exports reflecting a gradual recovery in global economy," said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute.

"It was a positive reading although the pace is unlikely to accelerate as global recovery remains tepid."

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