TOKYO: Japan's exports jumped in June led by US demand for cars and China-bound shipments of chip-making equipment, supporting hopes for an export-led recovery in the world's third-largest economy. Exports rose 48.6% in June from a year earlier, the fourth straight month of double-digit gains, although growth was largely exaggerated by a COVID-led plunge last year. Export growth has remained strong even as a global chip shortage weighs on Japan's car output and shipments.
With consumer spending weakening due to renewed coronavirus curbs in Tokyo, policymakers are counting on external demand to pick up the slack. In an encouraging sign for a trade-dependent economy, exports grew 23.2% in the first half of this year, up for the first time in five periods and exceeding pre-pandemic levels seen in the first half of 2019. It was the fastest growth since the first half of 2010.