TOKYO: Japan's Toyota Motor Corp on Thursday posted a worse-than-expected 42% drop in first-quarter operating profit, as auto production was curbed by COVID-19 restrictions on factories in China and a global semiconductor shortage.

Operating profit for the three months ended June 30 slid to 578.66 billion yen ($4.3 billion), falling far short of the average 845.8 billion yen profit estimated by 10 analysts, according to Refinitiv data. In the same period a year earlier, Toyota reported a 997.4 billion yen profit.

Despite the quarterly drop, the automaker stuck to its forecast for annual operating earnings of 2.4 trillion yen in the 12 months through March 31, 2023.

The carmaker cut its monthly production targets three times during the April-June quarter, falling 10% behind its initial goals, due to shortages of semiconductors and the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns in China.

Toyota shares, which were down 0.5% just before the release of the earnings, extended losses immediately after and were down 2.7% at 2,097 yen by 0432 GMT.

($1 = 133.7200 yen) (Reporting by Satoshi Sugiyama; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and David Dolan)