PREVIEW-Japan prices seen rising in June, in welcome sign for BOJ
* June core CPI seen +0.3 pct y/y, biggest rise in nearly 5 years
* CPI data due out Friday, July 26, at 8:30 am (2330 GMT Thurs
* June exports seen up 10.3 pct yr/yr helped by weak yen
* Trade data due out 8:50 a.m. Wednesday (2350 GMT Tues
TOKYO, July 19 (Reuters) - Japanese consumer prices likely increased in June and did so at the highest annual pace in nearly five years, a Reuters poll showed on Friday, as prospects of an economic recovery allow companies to gradually pass on rising costs to consumers.
The last month in which consumer prices rose from a year earlier was April 2012.
Many analysts say even if June had higher prices, it is too early to conclude Japan is out of deflation, because the increase is mostly due to a rise in electricity bills and a weak yen that is inflating the cost of gasoline imports.
But a rise in CPI would be an encouraging sign for the Bank of Japan, which has pledged to achieve 2 percent inflation in two years, as it would show that more companies are optimistic enough about the economy to believe they can put higher prices on goods or at least not cut them.
"The June increase is typical cost-push inflation, so it's premature to say deflation is over," said Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute in Tokyo.
"But cost-push inflation isn't necessarily a bad thing in Japan. It is happening partly because the economy is improving enough for households to swallow higher prices."
A Reuters poll showed the nationwide core consumer price index (CPI), which excludes fresh food but includes energy costs, likely rose 0.3 percent in June from a year earlier.
That level of growth would be the highest annual pace since a 1.0 percent increase in November 2008 and the first time in 14 months for consumer prices to have risen. In May, prices neither rose nor fell.
Tokyo core CPI, a leading indicator of nationwide prices, likely rose 0.3 percent in July after a 0.2 percent increase in June, the poll showed, suggesting that Japan will see prices continue to rise in the coming months.
The BOJ unleashed an intense burst of monetary stimulus on April 4, promising to double the supply of money through aggressive asset purchases to meet its 2 percent inflation target in roughly two years.
Many analysts expect consumer prices to gradually rise - reflecting improvements in the economy - but they view the two-year timeframe for achieving 2 percent inflation as too ambitious.
Trade balance data for June, due out on Wednesday morning, may add to optimism over Japan's outlook.
The data will likely show exports rose 10.3 percent in June from a year earlier to mark the fourth straight month of gains, a Reuters poll showed, a sign that the benefits of the weak yen are offsetting the pain from slowing demand in China for now. In May, exports rose 10.1 percent from a year earlier.
(Editing by Richard Borsuk)