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Workers inspect Toyota vehicles at an assembly line in Indonesia/AFP

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Toyota shares close at highest level this year

Workers inspect Toyota vehicles at an assembly line in Indonesia/AFP

TOKYO, Dec 18 – Toyota shares on Tuesday finished at their highest level this year, boosted by a weaker yen and a report that said the firm was on track to be the world’s biggest automaker in 2012.

The stock closed up 2.76 percent at 3,720 yen after the unit plunged to its lowest level for months against the dollar and euro on Monday following weekend elections which were won by Japan’s conservative opposition.

The change in government is likely to see Tokyo heap pressure on the Bank of Japan for more aggressive monetary easing.

Easing measures tend to weigh on the unit, and a weaker yen helps Japan’s exporters, like Toyota, by making their products more competitive overseas.

Separately, Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported Tuesday that Toyota was on track to be the biggest carmaker in the world this year, selling about 9.7 million vehicles.

This was despite a territorial spat with China that has weighed on Japan-brand sales in the lucrative Chinese market.

Company figures showed Toyota, whose brands include Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino, topped the global carmakers’ table in the first half of 2012, accelerating past General Motors and Volkswagen.

Toyota lost the title last year — a spot it had held between 2008 and 2010 — following a slump in production and sales owing to Japan’s March 11 quake-tsunami disaster, floods in Thailand and the strong yen.

US-based GM, which sold about nine million vehicles last year, was the world’s biggest carmaker followed by Germany’s Volkswagen with more than eight million vehicles sold. Toyota sold 7.95 million vehicles.

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