TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan's industrial production increased a seasonally adjusted 1.6 percent in October from the previous month to the highest level ever, buoyed by brisk output of semiconductor-making devises and automobiles, the industry ministry said Thursday.
The index of output at mines and factories stood at 112.1 against the base of 100 for 2000, the highest since the government began recording the relevant data in 1953, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.
The headline reading in the preliminary report came almost in line with the average market forecast of a 1.7 percent growth in a Kyodo News survey. The index of the reporting month surpassed the previous record logged in August.
The brisk figures for industrial production, which followed a 1.4 percent decline in the previous month, underlined the continued ''trend of moderate increase,'' the ministry said, maintaining the assessment for the third consecutive month.
General machinery makers, including manufacturers of such products as printers and semiconductor-manufacturing devices, put in robust results in their October production, up 7.0 percent, due to strong demand from both domestic and overseas markets.
Carmakers increased their output 5.1 percent, mainly supported by exports to the Middle East, North America and other Asian countries. Many of the manufacturers operated their factories longer in the reporting month than usual to cover the loss due to halts in their production lines this summer triggered by the strong earthquake in Niigata Prefecture, the ministry said.
Active exports of liquid crystal elements for mobile phones helped boost output at electronic parts and devises manufacturers, while makers of information and communication electronics equipment also increased their output.
The index of industrial shipments rose 2.1 percent to 116.8, and that of industrial inventories gained 0.6 percent to 97.7.
Looking ahead, manufacturers forecast a 1.7 percent fall in industrial production in November and a 3.2 percent expansion in December, the ministry said.