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December 29, 2009

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Home » Business » Economy

Japan boosts its factory output

JAPAN'S factory output grew the most in six months in November as a recovery in export demand from Asia boosted production of cars, flat screen televisions and other goods in the world's second-biggest economy.

Factory output - a key barometer of Japan's economic health - rose 2.6 percent from October and logged its ninth consecutive month of growth, the government said yesterday.

"A recovery in exports, especially in Asia, supported growth in industrial output," said Hideki Matsumura, senior economist at the Japan Research Institute.

Japan's exports to Asia totaled 2.7 trillion yen (US$30 billion) in November - more than those to North America (920 billion yen) and Western Europe (624 billion yen) combined, the finance ministry said last week. Exports to China alone in November rose 7.8 percent, the first increase in 14 months.

Among key sectors, November output for transport, which include passenger cars, jumped 5.9 percent. Output for information technology equipment, which includes popular liquid crystal display televisions, gained 2.7 percent.

Shipments in November edged up 0.9 percent month on month with inventories rising 0.2 percent. The government forecast industrial output will grow by 3.4 percent in December and 1.3 percent in January.

While growth in Japan's factory output was stronger than expected, the nation's retail sales in November fell 1.0 percent from a year earlier, marking the 15th consecutive month of decline.

Japanese retail sales continued to sink amid a prolonged slump in domestic demand, with department sales down 9.6 percent and food retail sales falling 4.1 percent in the month, the ministry said.

Japan has struggled to shake off its worst recession since World War II.


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