Japanese Industrial Output Down 2.2%

Declining demand for goods from U.S. pushes output down

Amid slowing demand for U.S.-bound exports, Japan's industrial output fell 2.2% in January from the previous month, official figures showed March 13.

An initial estimate had shown output declining 2%, following a gain of 1.4% in December.

Shipments dropped 1% in January, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said. Inventories fell 1.4%, compared with an initial 1.3% drop.

The data underscored the tough conditions facing Japanese corporations as shipments to the U.S. decline as a housing slump there weighs on consumer spending.

Japan's economy grew at a brisk 3.5% annualized pace in the fourth quarter of 2007, showing unexpected resilience in the face of growing fears of a U.S. recession, official figures showed March 12. But there are worries that Japan's export-led economic recovery from its long slump could stall if the U.S. enters a recession, further hitting demand for Asian goods.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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