Japan September exports fell at much slower pace, core CPI subdued: Reuters poll

·2-min read
A businessman walks near a cargo area at a port in Tokyo
A businessman walks near a cargo area at a port in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's exports in September probably fell at a much slower pace than in recent months, adding to some signs of recovery in the economy following the coronavirus pandemic, a Reuters poll showed on Friday.

Among other Japanese data releases next week, core consumer inflation in September was expected to have stayed around the lowest level in nearly four years, underscoring deflationary risks from the economic slump.

A Reuters poll of 16 economists forecast exports probably fell 2.4% in September from a year earlier, a significant easing after the double-digit falls in each of the six months through August.

Imports were projected to have fallen 21.4% in September from a year earlier, producing a trade surplus of 989.8 billion yen ($9.40 billion), according to the poll. Imports fell 20.8% in August.

"In addition to recovery in auto shipments, those of general machineries are expected to pick up," said Koya Miyamae, senior economist at SMBC Nikko Securities.

"Consumer spending is on the recovery trend but firms' capital spending is weak due to worsening corporate earning and uncertainty over the outlook, so imports of capital goods will likely be lacklustre."

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

The economy has been picking up from a record contraction in the April-June quarter. Last month, the government upgraded its view of exports and industrial output has been rising for several months, but weaknesses remain.

The core consumer price index (CPI), which includes oil products but excludes volatile fresh food prices, is expected to have slipped 0.4% in September from a year earlier, the poll found.

That would represent the same rate of decline as August and matching the biggest drop since late 2016.

Falls in energy prices continued to push down the core CPI and government-sponsored discounts on domestic travel also weighed, economists say.

The government will publish CPI data at 8:30 a.m. on Friday.

Analysts expect any rebound in the economy to be moderate as concerns about fresh waves of infections keep consumers wary of spending.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Neil Fullick)