Japan achieves record output growth in Nov

Written by Associated Press | Tokyo | Updated: Dec 30 2009, 03:24am hrs
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 worlds second-biggest economy.

Factory outputa key barometer of Japans economic healthwas up 2.6% from October and logged its ninth consecutive month of growth, the government said.

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

Japans exports to Asia totalled 2.7 trillion yen ($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%, the first increase in 14 months. Among key sectors, November output for transportation machines, which include passenger cars, jumped 5.9%. Output for information technology equipment, which includes popular liquid crystal display televisions, gained 2.7%.

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

While growth in Japans factory output was stronger than expected, the nations retail sales in November fell 1.0% 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% and food retail sales falling 4.1% in the month, the trade ministry said.