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Japan Nov factory output falls for 3rd month

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TOKYO — Japanese factories slashed output for a third consecutive month in November, dragged down by weak demand for machinery products amid a deteriorating global economic outlook.

The weak production bodes ill for Japanese firms as they face policymakers’ calls to raise workers’ pay to counter inflation, seen as essential for the post-pandemic growth of the world’s third-largest economy.

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Factory output fell 0.1% in November from the previous month, government data showed on Wednesday, slightly higher than the median market forecast for a 0.3% drop.

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That marked the third monthly decrease in Japanese production and followed a revised 3.2% fall in October and 1.7% contraction in September.

Output of general machinery slipped 7.9%, while that of production machinery such as semiconductor-making equipment decreased 5.7%, driving down the overall index in November. Output of auto products was also down 0.8%.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) cut its assessment of industrial output for a second straight month, saying “production is weakening.”

Manufacturers surveyed by METI expect output to gain 2.8% in December and decrease 0.6% in January, the data also showed.

Following a surprise contraction in July-September, economists expect Japan to grow an annualized 3.3% in October December on robust domestic demand, the latest Reuters poll showed. (Reporting by Kantaro Komiya; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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