Japan: Industrial production declines in March
Industrial production declined 0.9% on a month-on-month and seasonally-adjusted basis in March, contrasting February’s 0.7% increase. The print undershot the flat reading that market analysts had expected and the steepest fall in a year.
The categories that drove the month-on-month fall were motor vehicles, production machinery and fabricated metals, in that order. Lower output for these categories was partially offset by increases in production of electronic parts and devices, general-purpose and business-oriented machinery as well as inorganic and organic chemicals.
On an annual basis, industrial output fell 4.6% in March, following the 1.1% decrease in February. March’s decline represented the steepest drop since May 2015. Annual average growth in industrial production fell from February’s 0.9% to 0.2% in March.
The Survey of Production Forecast showed that manufacturers are slightly less optimistic. They now expect industrial output to have recorded a 2.7% monthly increase in April, down from the 2.9% increase forecast in the previous month’s survey. Manufacturers expect a 3.6% increase in May.