December 13, 2019 / 6:54 PM / a month ago

Japan exports set for 12th month of declines in November as tariff war takes toll: Reuters poll

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese exports look set for a 12th straight month of declines in November, according to a Reuters poll of analysts, as the U.S.-China tariff dispute and lackluster global demand hit the trade-reliant economy.

FILE PHOTO: A worker is seen among newly manufactured cars awaiting export at port in Yokohama, Japan, November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Exports are expected to have dropped 8.6% in November from a year earlier, the poll of 16 economists showed on Friday, compared with a drop of 9.2% in October - the quickest pace of decline in three years.

“Exports of electronics parts and devices picked up but those of auto to the U.S. and capital goods to Asia lacked momentum,” said Yusuke Shimoda, senior economist at Japan Research Institute.

Imports are forecast to have fallen 12.7% from last year, with the trade balance swinging back to a deficit of 369 billion yen ($3.40 billion), the poll showed, after a revised surplus of 15.66 billion yen in October.

The Finance Ministry will publish trade data at 0850 am Japan time on Dec. 18 (2350 GMT, Dec. 17).

Inflation will also figure in next week’s data, with core prices likely to have accelerated, the poll showed.

The core consumer price index, which includes oil products but excludes volatile fresh food costs, was seen up 0.5% in November from last year after a 0.4% increase in October, according to the poll.

Japan’s economy grew at an annualized rate of 1.8% in the third quarter as resilient domestic demand and business spending helped temper the impact from global trade tensions.

Analysts, however, expect the economy to worsen in the current quarter as the Sino-U.S. trade dispute and the national sales tax hike likely weighed on the world’s third-largest economy.

A wave of trade euphoria took over the markets late Thursday, after news emerged that the United States has agreed to reduce some tariffs on Chinese goods and delay a tranche of duties as part of a “phase-one” deal.

Japan raised its sales tax to 10% from 8% on Oct. 1, but the tax hike was applied to some public utility charges from November, which likely helped to boost the core CPI index slightly, analysts said.

“Without the impact from the higher levy, consumer inflation was moving sideways,” said Koya Miyamae, senior economist at SMBC Nikko Securities.

The Internal Affairs Ministry will publish consumer price data at 0830 a.m. Japan time on Dec. 20 (2330 GMT, Dec. 19).

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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