Japan's Industrial Output Rises 2% in January

Production shows 'signs of upward movement' on gains by IT and steel sectors.

Japan's industrial production in January rose by a bigger-than-expected 2% from the previous month as companies stepped up output of cars and electronic products, the government said Wednesday.

The rise beat average market expectations of around 1.5% growth and followed a revised month-on-month rise of 3.8% in December.

Industrial production is showing "signs of an upward movement," the economy, trade and industry ministry said in a monthly report, upgrading its assessment for December, which said the production "appears to be flat."

Main contributors to the January growth were transport, information and communications and the steel industry, it said. By item, production rose for passenger cars, digital cameras and car navigation systems.

A survey of producers by the ministry showed industrial output was expected to rise 1.7% in February and another 1.7% in March.

Automakers and electronic manufacturers continue to ramp up output following the severe flooding in Thailand last year, which disrupted production for many Japanese manufacturers.

Manufacturers could see a boost this year from the implementation of a 12 trillion yen ($150 billion) extra budget enacted last year to help reconstruction from the earthquake and tsunami disasters.

It could mitigate headwinds from overseas as eurozone economies show signs of weakness.

Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this article

Copyright 2012 Agence France-Presse

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