Japan’s exports grew for a fourth consecutive month as the weak yen provided a tailwind and demand in China picked up, giving the economy a needed boost as domestic consumption sags.

Exports gained 7.3% in March from a year earlier, with growth slightly decelerating from February’s 7.8% gain, the Finance Ministry reported Wednesday. Economists had forecast a 7% increase. Imports fell 4.9%, compared with the consensus estimate of a 5.1% decline.

Wednesday’s data showed that the economy continues to benefit from the effects of a sliding yen that is giving a flattering gloss to the underlying export trend. The yen averaged ¥149.45 to the dollar in the latest month, 10.7% weaker than ¥134.97 in the previous year, the ministry said. That helped inflate the value of some shipments in yen terms. By volume, exports declined by 2.1%.