TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan’s Honda Motor raised its full-year operating profit forecast by 4.2% to 1.25 trillion yen ($8.4 billion) on Thursday, helped by robust sales in the United States, a more profitable product mix and a weaker yen.

The new forecast compares with an earlier estimate of 1.2 trillion yen and an average analyst forecast of 1.271 trillion yen, according to LSEG data.

For the October-December third quarter, operating profit rose 35% to 379.8 billion yen, in line with the average estimate of 371.6 billion yen in a poll of nine analysts by LSEG.

Honda said last month its global sales grew 5.6% to nearly 4.0 million vehicles in 2023, lifted by a 33% jump in sales in the United States and marking its first sales growth in its biggest market in eight years as the shortage of high-tech chips abated.

In contrast, it saw a 10% sales slump in China to 1.2 million vehicles amid intense competition from newer Chinese auto brands.

Honda, a laggard in the shift to battery-powered electric vehicles, unveiled plans last month to launch a new EV series from 2026, showing off two concept EVs at the CES trade show in Las Vegas.

($1 = 148.6100 yen)

(Reporting by Daniel Leussink; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Edwina Gibbs)

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