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Japan September industrial output stalls in worrying sign for economy

  • Published at 06:04 pm October 31st, 2016
Japan September industrial output stalls in worrying sign for economy
Separate data showed retail sales fell more than expected in September from a year ago, further evidence that private consumption remains a drag on growth. Industrial output was unchanged in September from the previous month. That compares with the median estimate in a Reuters poll of a 1% increase and followed a 1.3% increase in August, data by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed yesterday. Economists say output may not pick up much in coming months. The cautious view and other data showing weak consumption and falling consumer prices could heighten expectations that the Bank of Japan will yet again push back the timing of its price target. “I don’t expect output to rise significantly for the time being,” said Norio Miyagawa, senior economist at Mizuho Securities. “Domestic demand simply is not strong enough. The BOJ has sent a message that monetary policy is on hold for now. We need more effort from the private sector to increase wages.” Industrial output was flat in September as declines in semiconductor and personal computer production offset gains in autos and construction equipment. Manufacturers surveyed by the ministry expect output to rise 1.1% in October and gain 2.1% in November, but their forecasts are often overly optimistic, economists say. Overall inventories fell 0.4% versus a 0.3% increase in the previous month, but there were signs that high inventories in some industries could curb future output, according to Daiju Aoki, economist at UBS Securities. Inventories of mobile phones and car navigation systems jumped 14.1%, the fastest gain in six months. Inventories of construction equipment also rose 1.2% in September. In the July-September quarter, industrial output rose 1.1%, faster than a 0.2% gain in the previous quarter, but economists say growth could moderate slightly in October-December.
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