TOKYO — Japanese factories most likely cut back output in September, a Reuters poll showed on Friday, ending a three-month growth streak on a tailwind from the end of strict COVID-19 measures in China and eased supply bottlenecks.
Industrial production probably decreased by 1% in September from the previous month, according to the median forecast of 17 economists in the poll.
Production growth in “transport equipment and related sectors may have come to an adjustment stage,” said economists at SMBC Nikko Securities. They added that September’s output dip would remain small as production of general machinery was still solid, citing exports data.
Toyota Motor Corp, the world’s largest carmaker by vehicle sales, said on Friday that its global production climbed 30% in the quarter ended in September, but that the semiconductor shortage was still weighing on it, especially at its domestic plants.
Japanese manufacturers’ sentiment has been worsening since last month, a Reuters corporate survey showed, on concerns over rising costs due to global inflation and a weak yen.
“Industrial production will likely go back and forth with inflation and the expected slowdown in overseas economies,” Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute, said on the outlook.
Separate data is expected to show retail sales rose 4.1% in September from a year earlier, extending the annual growth for a seventh month since March, when the government lifted all coronavirus curbs.
Japan’s economic reopening, now coupled with eased border controls for foreign tourists, has helped a consumption-led recovery, although three-decade-high inflation clouds the prospect of further gains. After a strong 3.5% annualized growth in April-June, analysts polled by Reuters are expecting a 1.3% expansion in the third quarter and 2.0% growth in the fourth quarter for the Japanese gross domestic product.
The government will release the factory output and retail sales data at 8:50 am on Oct. 31 (2350 GMT, Oct. 30). (Reporting by Kantaro Komiya; Editing by Gerry Doyle)