Citing the yen's growing strength, the Economic Planning Agency report said shipments of steel, chemical products and machinery were especially slack as exports slid 3.6% in August from the previous month, the sixth consecutive monthly decline. In the past year, the yen's value against the dollar has risen by about 40%. A stronger yen makes Japanese products more expensive overseas. At the end of the January-March quarter, the Japanese economy contracted for the first time in 11 years. In the next three months, it registered a sluggish 0.9% inflation-adjusted growth.