28 June 2001, 09:44  Japan METI maintains industrial output assessment of falling trend

TOKYO (AFX-ASIA) - The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said it maintained its assessment of industrial output after May data showed a declining trend for the third straight month. "The 1.2 pct fall in May production is not the worst situation possible but production has continued to fall since March," a ministry official in charge of statistics said.
Industrial output in May fell 1.2 pct month-on-month, after a fall of 2.0 pct in April and compared with a consensus forecast by private sector economists of a fall of 0.4 pct.
Output in June will be brighter due to expected strength in production of active-type semiconductor devices, as well as automobiles and printing machines, the ministry said.
However, July data is expected to weaken again due to a prospective drop in PC production after brisk output in May, when PC production rose 60.3 pct buoyed by the release of new models, the first rise in four months.
The ministry expects overall June output to rise 0.3 pct month-on-month and July to fall 0.1 pct. "The most important reason for the decline (in May) was production of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, which dropped 11.4 pct due to sluggish exports for the U.S. and Asia," the official said. "Automobiles fell 7.0 pct on weak export demand from the U.S. and Europe, while mobile phones fell 10.9 pct after a rally in March due to the release new models," the official said. The rise in overall inventories decelerated to growth of 0.8 pct in the month, from a gain of 2.2 pct in April.

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