Japan's industrial production posted the sharpest rise in nearly six decades in May but was still below pre-quake levels as factories toiled to reverse the sharp downturn triggered by the March 11 disaster.
Industrial output rose 5.7 per cent in May from the previous month, the government said yesterday. In April, production was up 1.6 per cent after a record plunge in March.
The improvement adds to signs that the world's No. 3 economy is rebuilding after the earthquake and tsunami damaged factories and caused parts shortages for manufacturers.
The growth in May is the steepest increase in factory production since March 1953 and was broadly in line with market expectations. It comes after a 15.5 per cent slump in March when the massive tsunami devastated Japan's industrial northeast, crippled a nuclear power station that continues to leak and caused power shortages.
While factory output was still about 9 per cent below pre-quake levels, the ministry upgraded its assessment of industrial production, describing it as "on a recovery trend."
The jump helped fuel a rally on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The benchmark Nikkei 225 index climbed 1.5 per cent to 9,797.26.
Sectors driving the expansion include transport equipment, general machinery and chemicals. Transportation-related production soared 36 per cent during the month as automakers like Nissan continued to restore capacity.
The automaker resumed full output at its Iwaki engine factory in northeast Japan last month. Chief executive Carlos Ghosn said earlier this week that overall production at his company has mostly recovered and will be back to normal by October.
Manufacturers of information and communication electronics equipment also benefited from robust sales of LCD TVS ahead of the termination of analog TV broadcasts.
From / Gulf News