Japan's factory output rose 0.5 percent in May from the previous month for the first increase in two months, led by robust demand for automobiles and clothing, government data showed Monday.
The expansion followed a 2.8 percent fall in April, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said, suggesting that the impact on demand from the April sales tax hike was short-lived. By sector, output for both transport equipment and textile makers gained 1.9 percent.
The ministry maintained its overall assessment of industrial production of the world's third-biggest economy, saying, "It appears to be flat." Looking ahead, manufacturers polled by the ministry expect production will fall 0.7 percent in June but grow 1.5 percent in July. The government raised sales tax from 5 percent to 8 percent on April 1, the first increase in 17 years.