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Japan's Honda posts stronger-than-expected Q1 operating profit

TOKYO, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co. posted a 0.9 percent rise in operating profit for the first quarter as strong Asian sales of cars and motorcycles helped offset a slide in North American demand, while a positive currency impact also aided the bottom line.

Operating profit at Japan's No. 3 automaker came in at 269.2 billion yen ($2.44 billion) in April-June, up from 266.84 billion yen a year ago and above estimates for 230.43 billion from seven analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Honda raised its forecast for full-year operating profit to 725 billion yen, from a previous forecast of 705 billion yen, as it expects a smaller negative currency impact. It now expects the U.S. dollar to average around 107 yen through March, from a previous forecast of 105 yen. ($1 = 110.2100 yen) (Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Himani Sarkar)