* Aug output falls -1.2% m/m vs forecast -0.5%
* Factory production seen rising in Sep, falling in Oct
* Govt trims view on output, says it's somewhat weakening on whole
* August retail sales at +2.0% y/y vs expected +0.9%
TOKYO, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Japan's industrial output shrank more than expected in August in the latest warning that the economy and its manufacturers are facing intensifying pressure amid a bitter Sino-U.S. trade war.
Retail sales, however, expanded at a faster-than-expected pace, signalling strength in private spending ahead of October's nationwide sales tax increase.
Industrial output fell 1.2% in August, government data showed, dropping at a faster pace than a median market forecast for a 0.5% decline and almost completely reversing July's 1.3% increase.
Output was weighed down by reduced production of iron and steel products, factory production equipment and cars, offsetting a gain in electronic parts and chemicals, the data showed.
Manufacturers surveyed by the trade ministry expect output to rise 1.9% in September, but fall 0.5% in October.
Monday's output data paints a bleak picture for Japan's export-reliant economy, underlining broadening stress across the manufacturing sector from slowing global growth, though service-sector activity remains firm as it is less at risk from weakness in global trade.
The ministry cut its assessment of activity on the whole, saying it has been somewhat weakening recently.
The world's third-largest economy has so far avoided buckling under a slowdown in overseas demand, growing for the third straight quarter in April-June, largely thanks to robust household consumption and public works spending.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also brought Japanese exporters some relief after signing a limited trade deal with U.S. President Donald Trump to cut tariffs on U.S. farm goods, Japanese machine tools and other products.
Although the agreement does not cover autos, Abe said he had received assurances from Trump that Washington would not impose previously threatened "Section 232" national security tariffs on Japanese car imports.
Still, even as the threat of higher U.S. tariffs on Japanese car imports was staved off, policymakers remain worried about the darkening outlook for the economy in light of frail external demand and global recession risks.
Separate data on Monday showed domestic demand might be stronger than thought as retail sales climbed 2% in August from a year earlier, reflecting robust spending ahead of a sales tax hike to 10% from 8% on Oct. 1. The reading was better than a median estimate for a 0.9% gain.
(Reporting by Daniel Leussink; Editing by Gerry Doyle)