LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Japan posted a record 15th straight monthly trade deficit in September, as growth in exports slowed. Exports last month rose 11.5% from a year earlier, the Finance Ministry reported Monday, slipping from a 14.7% gain in August and missing a forecast 16.1% increase tipped in a Dow Jones Newswires survey of economists. Imports rose 16.5%, up from a 16% increase the previous month, as high energy prices continued to take a toll on the Japanese trade account. The results put September's trade deficit at 932.2 billion yen ($9.5 billion), narrowing slightly from August's ¥960.3 billion and roughy in line with the ¥936.9 billion projection in the Dow Jones Newswires poll. Japanese exports to China extended their gains, rising 11.4%, while those to the U.S. improved by almost 19%, and European Union-bound shipment adding 14.3%. The Japanese yen weakened following the data, with the dollar edging up to ¥97.92 from ¥97.85 just before the release. The Nikkei Stock Average was 0.5% higher in opening moves, with Singapore-listed futures having implied a 0.3% gain in the minutes before the data were announced.