Japan's export growth slows as yen strengthens
Japan's export growth slowed for the fifth straight month in July as slowing global demand and a strong yen eroded a key driver of the country's economy.
The deceleration poses a major risk for Japan's export-driven recovery.
With lacklustre demand at home, the country has depended on high-growth countries like China to fuel the economy.
That expansion is now waning just as exporters face a new onslaught from the yen.
It hit a fresh 15-year high against the US dollar this week.
It weakened slightly today amid speculation that Japan's monetary authorities might intervene in the currency market for the first time since March 2004 to stem the rise.
An appreciating yen is toxic for exporters like Toyota and Sony.
Its rise shrinks the value of repatriated profits and makes their products less competitive overseas.
"When it is needed, we must respond with appropriate measures," Japan's Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda told reporters this week.
He said he hoped to work closely with the central bank.