TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's factory output likely grew for a fourth straight month in September thanks to a recovery in external demand as economic activity gradually picked up, a Reuters poll found on Friday.
But retail sales likely fell for the seventh straight month last month, suggesting a patch recovery as the pandemic hammered the broader economy.
Industrial output is forecast to have risen 3.2% in September from the previous month, the poll of 16 economists showed on Friday, but the pace of increase has been slowing down from a record 8.7% jump in July.
"We expect factory output grew led by autos," said Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.
"Exports are clearly recovering on a pickup in the economy overseas. So factory output is expected to recover led by exports."
Retail sales are expected to have fallen 7.7% in September from a year earlier as the pandemic kept consumers at home.
The trade ministry will announce retail sales data at 8:50 a.m. Japan time on Thursday, October 29 (2350 GMT Wednesday) and factory output data on Friday.
The nation's jobless rate probably inched up to 3.1% in September from 3.0% in August, and the jobs-to-applicants ratio, a gauge of the availability of jobs, likely held steady at 1.04.
One analyst said some more people have started looking for jobs, which brings them back into the data but is part of the reason for a slightly higher unemployment rate as they haven't found jobs yet.
Tokyo's core consumer price (CPI) index, which includes oil products but excludes fresh food prices, likely fell 0.5% in October from a year earlier led by energy price falls, the poll found.
The government will publish Tokyo core CPI and jobs data at 8:30 a.m. Japan time on Friday.
The poll also found the Bank of Japan would maintain its policy interest rate at minus 0.1%, and the 10-year Japanese government bond yield target at around 0% when it holds a policy meeting on Oct. 28-29.
(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Hugh Lawson)