February 16, 2018 / 6:34 AM / 7 months ago

Japan's exports seen rising for 14th straight month in January

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s exports were expected to rise in January for a 14th straight month, a Reuters poll showed on Friday, as robust overseas demand supports Japan’s economic recovery.

FILE PHOTO: A man works between shipping containers at a port in Tokyo, Japan, March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

Exports were seen likely to grow 10.3 percent in January from a year ago, the poll of 20 economists found, thanks to brisk shipments of cars and semiconductor production equipment.

Imports were seen rising 8.3 percent from a year earlier, resulting in a 1.0 trillion yen (£6.69 billion) trade deficit, the poll found.

“We expect exports will continue their expansion. There may be a slowdown in demand for the semiconductor-related products that boosted exports in 2017 but they will stay at high levels led by demand from China,” a Mitsubishi Research Institute economist said in the survey.

“On the other hand, the U.S. administration may strengthen its stance on trade protectionism towards the mid-term elections (in late 2018), so caution will be needed over whether protectionism will affect Japan’s auto exports.”

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

The poll also found the nationwide core consumer price index (CPI), which includes oil products but excludes volatile fresh food prices, was seen rising 0.8 percent in January from a year ago, after a 0.9 percent gain in December.

Contributions to the core CPI index from the prices of energy-related items such as electricity and gas likely shrank in January from the previous month, poll respondents said.

The internal affairs ministry will announce the nationwide consumer prices data at 8:30 a.m. Tokyo time on Feb. 23 (2330 GMT on Feb. 22)

The government will publish the nationwide and Tokyo CPI data on different dates starting this month. February core consumer prices in Tokyo are now due on March 2.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Eric Meijer

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