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Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd., operator of the world’s largest merchant fleet, said its car exports may rise from September as Toyota Motor Corp. and other automakers restore production disrupted after the March 11 earthquake.

“The recovery is faster than expected, and should pick up to the same level as last year or even better in September,” Chairman Akimitsu Ashida said in an interview Thursday.

The company expects its car shipments may fall 10 percent in July and 15 percent in August as summer vacations and efforts to conserve energy slow auto production, Ashida said.

Toyota’s output is rebounding ahead of schedule after the earthquake and tsunami prompted the company to cut output, President Akio Toyoda said June 30.

Vehicle exports by Japan’s 12 automakers plunged for a third straight month in May. Exports dropped 26 percent in March, 68 percent in April and 41 percent in May, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.

Oil stockpile to stay low

The government extended the amount of time that oil companies can hold reduced stockpiles after the International Energy Agency said member countries won’t have to replenish supplies at least until the end of the year.

Refiners and traders in Japan were asked last month to reduce inventories to the equivalent of 67 days of demand.

They now aren’t required to boost supplies back to 70 days after the previously mandated one-month period, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Friday.

The IEA, which represents 28 developed nations, said June 23 that members will release 60 million barrels of crude and products from emergency reserves to offset a supply disruption in Libya.

On Thursday, the Paris-based energy adviser to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said it doesn’t plan to sell more oil.

Japan uses more oil than any other country except the U.S. and China. Inventories held by Japanese companies dropped by 1.42 million kiloliters, or about 8.9 million barrels, between July 2 and 16, METI said Friday.

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