Japan's Honda Motor Co on Friday posted a better-than-expected 22% rise in third-quarter operating profit, as a weak RBRyen helped offset rising raw material costs and lower vehicle production and sales amid chip supply shortages.

Operating profit for the three months to Dec. 31 stood at 280.4 billion yen ($2.13 billion). That compared to an average estimate of 239.4 billion yen in a poll by 11 analysts by Refinitiv and a 229.4 billion yen operating profit the same period a year earlier.

The automaker stuck to its annual operating profit forecast of 870 billion yen for the year through March, compared with an 871.28 billion yen average forecast by 21 analysts.

Honda's global automobile sales were down 8.7% for the first nine months of the fiscal year compared with the same period a year earlier, the company said. ($1 = 131.5500 yen) (Reporting by Daniel Leussink; Editing by David Dolan)