Japan Industrial Production Rises in January Junko Kimura/Getty Images

Japan Industrial Production Rises in January

The ministry left unchanged its verdict on output, saying in a monthly report that "industrial production shows signs of increase at a moderate pace.

TOKYO - Japan's factory production in January rose a faster-than-expected 4.0% on-month, growing for the second straight month, according to official data released Friday.

The latest figures from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry beat economists' median forecast for a 2.8% rise, and followed a revised 0.8% rise seen in December.

The ministry left unchanged its verdict on output, saying in a monthly report that "industrial production shows signs of increase at a moderate pace."

Marcel Thieliant, Japan economist at Capital Economics, suggested the upbeat figure did not warrant much optimism.

"While industrial production surged in January, firms are predicting a renewed decline in coming months as consumer spending remains sluggish," he said in a note.

A survey by the ministry of manufacturing companies showed they predict production in February was up a slower 0.2%and fell 3.2% in March. 

"While industrial production surged in January, firms are predicting a renewed decline in coming months as consumer spending remains sluggish." Marcel Thieliant, Capital Economics economist

Taking office in late 2012, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe launched a policy blitz dubbed "Abenomics" which meshes government spending with massive monetary easing by the central bank and reforms to the highly regulated economy. 

The pro-spending growth bid has stalled with a April 2014 hike in the sales tax denting consumer spending.

Millions of shoppers launched a last-minute buying binge for everything from cars and washing machines to televisions and alcohol before the tax rise.

Data from the internal affairs ministry showed household spending in January fell 5.1% year-on-year against a median forecast of a 4.1% drop.

The jobless rate rose to 3.6% from 3.4% in December.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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