TOKYO: Japanese exports to the US recorded their biggest slide in four years in March, with shipments to China and Asia also registering their lowest growth rate since 2005, raising fears that the US slowdown is starting to affect the world's second-largest economy.

Exports to the US during March fell 11% year on year, with Japanese auto marques said to have been hit particularly hard.

The country's exports to Asia increased by 1.9% – compared with growth of 13.8% in February – while exports to China rose by just 3.2%, down from some 14.8% the previous month.

Hiroshi Shiraishi, an economist from Lehman Brothers Japan, said: "Decelerating worldwide growth is taking a toll on Japan's exports gradually, as the slowdown in the United States is having a ripple effect on the global economy."

Japan's economy has traditionally been built on strong exports, but its trade surplus dropped by over 30% to a total value of ¥1.119 trillion ($10.88bn; £5.5bn) in March, according to the Ministry of Finance.

Most analysts, however, doubt that the Bank of Japan will engage in any substantial changes to interest rates.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff