TOKYO - Japan's exports growth is expected to have cooled in November, a Reuters poll showed on Friday, suggesting a dimming economic outlook amid easing global demand and a U.S.-China trade dispute.
Exports were seen rising 1.8 percent in November from a year earlier, slowing from a 8.2 percent increase in October, the poll of 15 economists found.
Imports likely grew 11.5 percent last month from a year earlier, resulting in a trade deficit of 600.3 billion yen ($5.29 billion).
"Exports lack momentum, which is likely to continue due to factors such as a slowdown in global demand for IT-related products," said Takumi Tsunoda, senior economist at Shinkin Central Bank Research Institute.
Export-led Japan, and many other economies, have come under a cloud in the face of a bitter Sino-U.S. trade war as policy makers worry about a wider impact on global growth, investment and corporate earnings.
Koya Miyamae, senior economist at SMBC Nikko Securities, said given the natural disasters it's hard to gauge any potential effects of the Sino-U.S. trade friction on Japan's exports.
"It is true the pace of growth in Japan's exports this year is sluggish compared with last year partly due to China's slowdown. It needs a close watch to assess how global trade friction will affect the nation's shipments."
The finance ministry will announced the trade data at 8:50 a.m. on Dec. 19 (2350 GMT, Dec. 18).
The poll also found the nationwide core consumer price index (CPI), which includes oil products but excludes volatile fresh food prices, rose 1.0 percent in November from a year earlier, the same rate as October and September.
"Wages are recovering modestly and consumer sentiment is not necessarily worsening," said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute.
"Consumer spending is seen picking up but it is not strong enough to boost prices, while the upward effects on them from energy costs will be waning."
The internal affairs ministry will publish consumer prices data at 8:30 a.m. Tokyo time on Dec. 21 (2330 GMT on Dec. 20)
With consumer inflation remaining tame, the Bank of Japan is likely to maintain its current ultra-easy policy.
The BOJ is set to keep its short-term interest rate at minus 0.1 percent and the 10-year government bond yield target at around zero percent at its policy meeting Dec. 19-20, the poll showed.
The economy shrank the most in over four years in the third quarter, as a series of natural disasters disrupted factory output and distribution network.
Analysts expect a rebound in growth in the current quarter but global trade woes and slowing external demand have raised risks to the world's third-largest economy.