Japan’s Industrial Output Drops

Japan’s industrial production fell more than forecast in February, adding to pressure from a drop in consumer spending and faltering inflation. Output declined 3.4 percent from January, when it rose 3.7 percent, the trade ministry said in Tokyo on Monday. The median estimate of 28 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a decline of 1.9 percent.

The data is the weakest since June last year and underscores the fragility of Japan’s recovery from a recession last year. Holidays in many parts of Asia that took place in February this year also curbed export demand during the month, further reducing production, according to economists at Mizuho Securities Co.

“A recovery in consumer spending has been slow after last April’s sales-tax hike and exports aren’t that strong yet,” said Taro Saito, director of economic research at NLI Research Institute in Tokyo. “Today’s figure is a reminder that it may be too early to be very optimistic about the economy.”

Bloomberg

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