August 10, 2018 / 4:56 AM / 4 months ago

Japan's July exports seen growing at steady pace, trade tensions key risk: Reuters poll

FILE PHOTO: A worker rides a bicycle in a container area at a port in Tokyo April 21, 2014. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s exports likely grew at a solid pace in July, although worries lingered over global trade tensions, which could damage the nation’s shipments and the economy, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

Exports are expected to have risen 6.3 percent in July from a year earlier, the poll of 16 economists showed, after rising 6.7 percent in June.

Imports likely climbed 14.4 percent last month, accelerating from a revised 2.6 percent increase in June, as higher oil prices and a weaker yen boosted import costs.

As a result, trade balance will likely show a 50 billion yen ($451.02 million) deficit for July.

“The pace of the global economic growth, except that of the U.S., is slowing down but it is still expanding, so Japan’s exports will likely pick up as well,” said Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.

“Global trade conflict remains a risk factor... focus is how much the U.S. demands Japan over trade issues. If Washington imposes higher auto tariffs, its impact on Japan’s auto industry would be significant.”

The finance ministry will announce the trade data at 8:50 a.m. Tokyo time on Aug. 16 (2350 GMT, Aug. 15).

Top U.S. and Japanese trade officials said they better understood each other’s positions after talks on Thursday, while Tokyo appeared to stick to its position of avoiding a bilateral free-trade agreement.

Japan’s economy grew more than expected in the second quarter, helped by strong household and business spending and recovering from a contraction earlier this year.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri

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