Industrial output in Japan declined a seasonally adjusted 1.2 percent on month in February, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in Friday's preliminary reading.
That was well shy of forecasts for an increase of 1.3 percent following the 1.9 percent expansion in January.
On an annual basis, output climbed 1.5 percent - also missing expectations for an increase of 3.7 percent following the 1.3 percent contraction in the previous month.
As a result of the data, the METI maintained its assessment of industrial production, saying: "Industrial production continued to show an upward movement."
Industries that contributed to the decrease include general machinery, transport equipment and communications equipment. Commodities that contributed to the decrease include cell phones, passenger cars and LCDs.
According to the survey of production forecast, production is expected to climb 12.6 percent in March and 0.7 percent in April.
Industries that contribute to the increase in March include transport equipment, communications equipment and electronic parts. Industries that contributed to the increase in April include chemicals, transport equipment and general machinery.
Shipments in February added 1.1 percent on month, reversing the previous month's losses. Shipments also rose 1.1 percent on year. Industries that contributed to the decline included transport equipment, electronic parts and electrical machinery.
Inventories in February were up 0.1 percent on month, rising for the second consecutive month. They also climbed 1.0 percent on year. Industries that contributed to the movement included communication electronics equipment, iron and steel, and fabricated metals.
The Inventory Ratio in February shed 3.9 percent on month, reversing the previous month's gains. It rose 4.6 percent on year.
Also on Friday:
• Core consumer prices in Japan were up 0.1 percent on year in February, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said- beating forecasts for a contraction of 0.1 percent, which would have been unchanged from the January reading.
Overall inflation came in higher by 0.3 percent, topping expectations for a flat reading after adding 0.1 percent in the previous month. On a monthly basis, core CPI and overall inflation both were up 0.2 percent.
Core consumer prices for the Tokyo region - considered a leading indicator for the nationwide trend - were down 0.3 percent on year in March, matching forecasts and remaining unchanged from the February data.
Overall Tokyo CPI was down 0.1 percent on year, also in line with forecasts after easing 0.2 percent in the previous month. On month, core CPI and overall inflation both climbed 0.4 percent.
• The unemployment rate in Japan came in at a seasonally adjusted 4.5 percent in February, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said - beating forecasts for 4.6 percent, which would have been unchanged from the January reading. The job-to-applicant ratio was 0.75, beating expectations for 0.74 after showing 0.73 in the previous month.
The number of employed persons in February was 62.26 million, a decrease of 400 thousand or 0.6 percent on year. The number of unemployed persons in February was 2.89 million, a decrease of 140 thousand or 4.6 percent on year. The participation rate was 58.7 percent, down from 59.0 percent a year earlier.
• Average household spending in Japan was up 2.3 percent on year in February, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said, standing at 267.895 yen. That blew past expectations for a 0.5 percent contraction following the 2.3 percent decline in January.
The average of monthly income per household stood at 483,514 yen, up 2.5 percent on year. The average of consumption expenditures was 292,949 yen, up 2.9 percent on year.
• The Nomura/JMMA Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index posted a score of 51.1 in March, up from 50.5 in February and remaining above the boom-or-bust level that signifies expansion.
• Upon the release of the data, the Japanese yen showed little changes against major opponents, trading near 82.31 against the U.S. dollar, 109.59 versus the euro, 90.92 against the franc and 131.33 versus the pound.
by RTT Staff Writer
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