Japan’s industrial production index in March rose 0.3 percent from the previous month, backed by automakers trying to recoup their fall in output following record heavy snowfall in February, government data showed Wednesday.
The seasonally adjusted index of output at factories and mines stood at 101.8 against the base of 100 for 2010. The Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry maintained its basic assessment of production, saying it “continues to show upward movement.”
Looking ahead, manufacturers polled by the ministry expect output to drop 1.4 percent in April and edge up 0.1 percent in May.
Yayoi Sakanaka, an economist at the Mizuho Research Institute, said she expects output to gradually return to an increasing trend in May or later, overcoming a fall in demand caused by the 3-percentage-point consumption tax hike to 8 percent from April 1.
“Even if the index falls 1.4 percent in April as projected, its level will still be higher than that marked in December. We also think the adverse impact of the consumption tax hike will disappear by around the summer,” she said.