December 15, 2017 / 5:45 AM / 7 months ago

Japan November exports expected to grow on upbeat demand, BOJ to keep policy steady

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s exports are expected to have risen for a 12th straight month in November, a Reuters poll showed on Friday, as buoyant overseas demand helps drive a steady economic recovery.

Newly manufactured vehicles await export at a port in Yokohama, Japan, January 16, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

Exports are expected to have risen 14.6 percent in November from a year earlier, the poll of 19 economists showed, thanks to strong overseas demand for cars, semiconductor production equipment and steel.

The expected gain in exports would follow 14.0 percent growth in October.

Imports were seen to have risen an annual 18.0 percent in November, up for an 11th straight month, on higher oil prices and demand for new-model smartphones, the poll found.

This outcome would result in a trade deficit of 54.9 billion yen (£363.9 million), which would be the first trade deficit since May.

“The data will confirm exports are on a rising trend as the global economy is expanding,” Mana Saito, economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute, responded in the survey.

The finance ministry will publish the trade data at 8:50 a.m. Tokyo time on Monday (2350 GMT Sunday).

The poll also found that economists expect the Bank of Japan to keep its short-term policy interest rate at minus 0.1 percent and the 10-year government bond yield target at around zero percent at its two-day meeting starting Dec. 20.

“In our main scenario, we expect long global yields to increase and this should make room for the BOJ to increase the target rate on the 10-year government bonds,” Bjorn Tangaa Sillemann, an analyst at Danske Bank, said in the survey.

“As long as we are not seeing any significant pickup in core inflation and long global yields remain low we believe it is too soon, though.”

Japanese business confidence improved for a fifth straight quarter in the three months to December to hit an 11-year high, the Bank of Japan’s tankan survey showed on Friday, a sign the economy is gathering momentum from robust exports and booming corporate profits.

The tankan will be among key data the BOJ will scrutinise at its rate review next week.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Eric Meijer

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