Japan October exports, core CPI seen falling again on strong yen

A laborer works in a container area at a port in Tokyo

By Kaori Kaneko

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s exports likely fell for a 13 straight month in October, while core consumer prices probably slipped for a eight month in a row due to a strong yen, a Reuters poll showed on Friday, casting doubt on hopes for a sustainable economic recovery.

Exports were expected to have declined 8.6 percent in the year to October while imports may have fallen 16.3 percent, according to the poll of 21 economists.

That would result in a trade surplus of 615.4 billion yen ($5.56 billion) in October, the poll showed, up from a revised 497.6 billion yen surplus the previous month.

“Looking at the recent volume of exports, they are not so bad but a strong yen is weighing on the value of exports and exporters’ profits,” said Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.

“An inventory adjustment overseas has progressed which is helping business confidence. So if export data shows a solid tone, it will likely support a view that confidence will pick up,” he said, adding that recent falls in yen would help corporate profits.

The yen was trading around 110.60 yen <JPY=EBS> per dollar on Friday on growing hopes for a U.S. interest rate hike by year-end. That compared with around 101-105 yen per dollar in October.

The finance ministry will release the trade data at 8:50 a.m. Nov. 21 (2350 GMT Nov. 20.)

The poll also found the core consumer price index (CPI), which includes oil products but excludes fresh food prices, likely fell 0.4 percent in October from a year earlier.

Core CPI slipped 0.5 percent in September.

“A strong yen and budget-minded households pushed down consumer prices but the pace of falls slowed down a little due to some recovery in prices such as gasoline following a pickup in oil prices,” said Kentaro Arita, senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute.

The internal affairs ministry will announce the CPI data at 8:30 a.m. on Friday.

The economy grew faster than expected in the third quarter as exports recovered but weak domestic activity cast doubt on the outlook.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Kim Coghill)