UPDATE 2-Japan current account shows yen effect will be lagged
* Q4 GDP steady qtr/qtr vs prelim -0.1 pct
* Revised capex -1.5 pct vs prelim -2.6 pct
* Jan current account gap 365 bln yen, 3rd straight deficit
* Weaker yen, fuel imports hurt current account
(Adds analyst's quote, details)
TOKYO, March 8 (Reuters) - Japan's record third straight current account deficit showed it will take time for a weaker yen to spark an export-led revival, as separate data showed the economy stabilised in the fourth quarter to end last year's recession earlier than thought.
The January current account and fourth-quarter GDP figures on Friday signalled the challenge facing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has promised more spending and big monetary stimulus to rev up the economy and end nearly two decades of deflation.
His policies have helped drive the yen to 3-1/2 year lows against the dollar, supporting the traditional export engine. But the weaker currency has also driven up import costs as energy imports have surged, putting pressure on Japan's ability to reliably generate balance of payments surpluses.
"The yen's weakening will tend to weigh on the current account balance at first, due to the J-curve effect of a weaker currency having immediate impacts on the value of imports before boosting exports," said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute.
"That said, there's a risk of depending heavily on the scenario of an export recovery -- European economies remain weak, China is unlikely to achieve higher growth and the United States faces fiscal problems," he said.
The quarterly change in Japan's gross domestic product was revised up to unchanged in October-December, from a preliminary 0.1 percent contraction, the Cabinet Office said.
That meant the economy had no longer contracted for three consecutive quarters, suggesting a bottoming out in last year's downturn, but it was just below economists' expectations that the revised data would show 0.1 percent growth.
Separate data from the finance ministry showed Japan's current account deficit was 364.8 billion yen ($3.85 billion) in January. While less than a median forecast for a deficit of 626.0 billion yen, it still marked a third straight month of deficit, the longest sequence since the series began in 1985.
Yasuo Yamamoto, senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute, also said even though the GDP data confirmed the economy had bottomed out, a tepid pick-up in exports was likely to be a drag on the world's third-biggest economy.
On Thursday, the Bank of Japan held policy steady and said in its assessment the economy had stopped worsening. That chimed with economists' view there will be moderate growth this year on the back of a global recovery and Abe's policies.
Investors expect the central bank will become more aggressive in its policy from next month, with Haruhiko Kuroda, the president of the Asian Development Bank and an advocate of aggressive easing, set to become governor in coming weeks.
The GDP figures translated into annualised growth of 0.2 percent in price-adjusted real terms, in line with expectations and better than an initial reading of a 0.4 percent contraction, the data showed.
Japan's performance compared with an annualised 0.1 percent expansion in the United States in the same period, and a 2.3 percent contraction in the 17-country euro zone.
Capital expenditure fell a revised 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with a 1.2 percent decline expected by economists and a preliminary reading of a 2.6 percent decline.
($1 = 94.6650 Japanese yen)
(Writing by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and John Mair)