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Kyodo economic news summary -2-.

TOKYO, April 6 Kyodo

---------- FY 2003 sales of imported autos in Japan stay flat on yr

TOKYO - Sales of new imported motor vehicles in Japan totaled 279,444 units in fiscal 2003, almost unchanged from the previous year, the Japan Automobile Importers Association said Tuesday.

The total for the year ended March 31 comprises 245,732 units produced by non-Japanese companies, down 5.2%, and 33,712 units produced by Japanese automakers at overseas factories, up 68.0%, the association said.

---------- Gov't to monitor long-term interest rates carefully: ministers

TOKYO - Economic and fiscal policy minister Heizo Takenaka on Tuesday expressed tolerance of recent rises in long-term interest rates, but said the government will closely monitor rate movements so that they do not exceed the pace of Japan's economic growth.

''I don't think the current rise in long-term interest rates is a negative one,'' Takenaka said at a news conference. ''In a long-term perspective, it is possible that nominal economic growth rates and interest rates are linked.''

---------- Dollar regains mid-105 yen in Tokyo on positive U.S. data

TOKYO - The U.S. dollar regained the mid-105 yen level Tuesday morning in Tokyo on hopes for a U.S. economic recovery following better-than-expected U.S. service industries data.

At noon, the dollar was quoted at 105.51-53 yen, up from Monday's 5 p.m. quotes of 104.85-95 yen in New York and 104.78-80 yen in Tokyo.

---------- Tokyo stocks dip in morning after Nikkei hits new 22-month high

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks ended slightly lower Tuesday morning as investors locked in profits from recent gains after the key Nikkei index briefly hit a fresh 22-month intraday high above the psychologically important 12,000 line.

The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average inched down 1.99 points, or 0.02%, to end the morning at 11,956.33, after hitting a morning high of 12,059.13 shortly after the session opened, its highest level on an intraday basis since May 27, 2002, when it hit 12,081.43. The broader Tokyo Stock Price Index (TOPIX) of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange slipped 1.05 points, or 0.09%, to 1,198.19. It hit a morning high of 1,207.37 at the outset of the session, its highest level on an intraday basis since Aug. 8, 2001, when it reached 1,225.40.

---------- Japan gov't bond, futures prices fall in morning deals

TOKYO - Prices of 10-year Japanese government bonds and bond futures fell Tuesday morning on selling prompted by optimism over the Japanese economy, which led the benchmark Nikkei index to briefly rise above the 12,000 line.

In interdealer trading, the yield on the key No. 258 10-year, 1.3% government bond issue rose 0.020 percentage point from Monday to end the morning at 1.515%, the highest yield for a 10-year issue since November last year.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Apr 12, 2004
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