Japan’s exports jump in March  

Japan’s exports jump in March   

TOKYO: Japanese exports recorded their biggest gain in more than two years in March, official data showed Thursday, in a sign of optimism for the world’s third-biggest economy.

The strong result, which came in better than expected, backs up the view that Japan’s economic growth is picking up steam.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday boosted its economic forecast for Japan, projecting a 1.2 percent annual expansion this year from a January projection of 0.8 percent. A key Bank of Japan business confidence also points to rising optimism among big manufacturers.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been trying for years to rejuvenate growth and end an extended period of on-and-off deflation through a policy blitz of easy money, stimulus and reform.

Exports expanded 12.0 percent in March to 7.2 trillion yen ($66.12 billion), the strongest expansion since January 2015 and the fourth straight monthly gain, according to the Finance Ministry.

“Japan’s production and exports are rising on the back of a global rebound in manufacturing,” said Masaki Kuwahara, senior economist at Nomura Securities Co.

“In Asia, developing nations are doing well cyclically and that’s directly helping Japan’s exports.”