Japan posts upbeat factory output in January; retail sales plunge


January had seen Japan’s industrial output advance for the first time in three months. The expansion was mainly from an increase in global demand, indicating that the country’s economy has established a slight rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.

Official data released on Friday showed that Japan’s factory output expanded 4.2% in January. The record was a complete reversal from December’s 1.0% drop. It also placed in line with the 4.0% forecast expected by analysts.

An increase in electronic parts and general-purpose machinery came as the primary drivers, with a minimal buildup in car output also contributing to the sector’s jump. However, retail sales marked their second straight month of contraction in January. This was brought about by the government’s implementation of coronavirus-related measures, heavily dragging consumption.

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