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Japan's April exports seen up for fifth straight month, core CPI to accelerate
May 19, 2017 / 7:03 AM / 6 months ago

Japan's April exports seen up for fifth straight month, core CPI to accelerate

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s exports were expected to rise for a fifth straight month in April, a Reuters poll found on Friday, supported by global demand especially from Asia and affirming the outlook for an export-led recovery.

Workers load containers onto trucks from a cargo ship at a port in Tokyo, Japan, March 16, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Although the rate of export growth was seen likely to slow last month after robust rises in March, analysts see a global economic upturn continuing to support Japanese trade.Exports were seen likely to have grown 7.8 percent in April from a year ago after jumping 12.0 percent in March, the biggest gain in more than two years.

Imports were expected to increase 14.8 percent last month from a year earlier taking the trade surplus to 520.7 billion yen ($4.69 billion).

“Demand for items such as electronic parts and devices boosted overall exports thanks to the global recovery in the IT cycle,” said Akihiro Morishige, senior economist at Mitsubishi Research Institute.

“External demand will likely continue to pick up, which will support Japan’s exports this year.”

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

Inflation data is also due next week, with core consumer prices expected to have accelerated last month, led by energy costs.

Prices of other items remained weak, analysts say, suggesting there is some way to go before the Bank of Japan’s 2 percent price growth target is reached.

The core consumer price index (CPI), which includes oil products but excludes volatile fresh food prices, likely rose 0.4 percent in April from a year earlier, up for a fourth straight month, the poll found.

“Energy prices largely pushed up core CPI and the prices of other items continued to stagnate,” said Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute.

“There is a high chance that core CPI gradually accelerates towards autumn this year.”

The poll found core CPI in Tokyo, available a month before the nationwide data, was flat in May after a 0.1 percent fall in April.

The internal affairs ministry will issue the core CPI index at 8:30 a.m. Japan time on Friday. (2330 GMT Thursday).

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Eric Meijer

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