Japan Industrial Production, Retail Sales Rise in November

Industrial production in Japan rose in November, fueled by strong growth in exports. Retail sales rebounded to top expectations.

Highlights

  • Industrial production rose 0.6 percent in November from October (forecast +0.5%).
  • Year-on-year production climbed 3.7 percent (forecast +3.6%).
  • Production is forecast to increase 3.4 percent this month compared to November, and fall 4.5 percent in January.
  • The main contributors to November production were semiconductor equipment and electronic parts, the economy ministry said.
  • November retail sales rose 1.9 percent from October (forecast +0.7%).
  • Sales increased 2.2 percent from a year earlier (forecast +1%).
  • Sales at department stores and supermarkets rose 1.4 percent from a year earlier (forecast +1%).

Key Takeaways

A yearlong recovery in exports has bolstered industrial output, supporting Japan’s longest economic expansion since the mid-1990s. Yet increasing domestic consumption remains key to the recovery becoming self-sustaining. Retailers are seeing more favorable conditions after bad weather kept Japanese shoppers at home through much of the third quarter, with household spending beating expectations last month.

Economist Views

  • “November’s industrial production data weren’t particularly surprising, but some of next year’s forecasts are dropping — I’d like to take a closer look at the significance of that,” said Masaki Kuwahara, senior economist at Nomura Securities Co. “If you look at the numbers as they are, there’s a possibility that production will drop a little at the start of next year.”
  • “Through the end of this year, the numbers show that the global economy continues to be fairly strong,” Kuwahara said.
  • “Consumption is strong and I think the recent weakness was due to bad weather,” said Yasutoshi Nagai, chief economist at Daiwa Securities Co. “But it’s hard to think the momentum will be maintained while wages are not rising much.”

Source: Bloomberg

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