Japan's industrial output showed the first increase in four months as factories stepped up output after a recent soft patch, rowing 1.2% in June, official data showed July 30.
Production was 1% higher in June compared with a year earlier, lifted by rising output of electronic parts and devices, automobiles and IT equipment.
But the government was reluctant to upgrade its assessment of the overall trend in industrial output. "Production is staying flat as a whole," the trade and industry ministry said.
Manufacturers were upbeat about the outlook, forecasting on average that output would rise 1.8% in July from June and by 4.9% in August.
The numbers "indicate that Japan has avoided the worst-case scenario, in which the corporate sector -- which has been supporting the nation's recovery in recent years -- falls into a cyclical downtrend," said Daiwa Institute of Research senior economist Junichi
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007