Japan’s industrial output dropped in May from a month earlier to a fresh seven year low as a result of waning overseas and domestic demand, facility closures and major supply chain disruptions caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the government said in a report on Tuesday.
According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, factory output here fell 8.4 percent from a month earlier in the recording period, with the seasonally adjusted index of production at factories and mines standing at 79.1 against the 2015 base of 100.
The latest reading, the lowest since comparable data became available in January 2013, comes on the heels of a revised 9.8 percent fall in April, the ministry’s data showed, also a seven year low at the time, and a 3.7 percent drop booked in March and a 0.3 percent retreat logged in February.
The country’s factory output has been hammered since the outbreak of the coronavirus here, with the government’s declaration of a state of emergency over the virus being announced in April leading to businesses shutting operations amid slumping demand and in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus, while people were requested to refrain from making unnecessary trips outside including to their workplaces.
Production remained similarly pressured in the recording period in twine with a drop in domestic and overseas’ business expenditure and demand, dwindling consumption and amid continued virus-induced business restrictions, with the government here not fully lifting its emergency declaration until May 25.
The ministry, for the reporting period, maintained its assessment that “industrial production is rapidly declining,” with the latest view following four straight months of decline.
Production of vehicles and auto parts plunged 23.2 percent in May from the previous month, the ministry said, while industries that also contributed the most to the decline in production included those related to machinery production and those to do with iron, steel and non-ferrous metal makers, in that order, the ministry also said.
The ministry’s preliminary data showed the index of industrial shipments declined 8.4 percent to 77.2, while that of inventories lost 2.5 percent to 103.4 in the recording period.
Looking ahead, the ministry said that based on its survey of manufacturers, production in June is expected to rise 5.7 percent, followed by an estimated 9.7 percent increase in July.