Japanese factory output rises for first time in year

Image caption,
Government incentive programmes to help people buy certain types of car helped lift industrial ouput

Japanese industrial production rose for the first time in six months in November, largely thanks to government assistance programmes.

Factory output was 1% up on October, with much of the lift coming from an increase in car production.

That has been underpinned by an official programme providing incentives to buyers of hybrid cars, such as Toyota's Prius.

Output of various electronics and machinery parts also lifted production.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which released the figures, said it expected factory production to continue rising - by 3.4% in December and 3.7% in January.

Separate data showed less positive news on the Japanese economy.

Consumer prices fell for the 21st month in a row in November, down by 0.5% on a year ago.

Consumer spending also remained weak, with household expenditure falling by 0.4% November, according to the Internal Affairs Ministry. The general expectation was for a 0.2% gain.

Last week, the government forecast economic growth for 2011 would be less than half the pace of 2010, at 1.5%, down from this year's 3.1%.

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