Japan's industrial output and inflation rate slowed in November, government data showed Friday, suggesting that the April sales tax hike still affected of the world's third-biggest economy.
The country's factory output fell 0.6 percent in November from the previous month, slipping for the first time in three months, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.
Industrial output covers production of consumer goods including automobiles and computers, as well as that of production equipment such as cranes. Despite the downturn, the ministry maintained its overall assessment of industrial production, saying, "It was leveling off." Looking ahead, manufacturers polled by the ministry expect production will increase 3.2 percent in December and 5.7 percent in January. The Japanese economy has fallen back into recession following the April sales tax hike, from 5 percent to 8 percent, the first increase in 17 years.
Separate data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications showed core consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.7 percent in November from a year earlier. Core CPI, which excludes volatile fresh foods, increased for the 18 straight month, but the growth rate was smaller than October's 2.9 percent expansion, chiefly due to lower oil prices. The core CPI also saw the smallest expansion since the April tax hike.
Bank of Japan (BOJ) Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said Thursday that the pace of price rise is expected to remain around the current level for the time being. In April 2013, the BOJ launched a massive monetary easing program to end deflation that has lasted for nearly 15 years and achieve the 2 percent inflation target in fiscal 2015. The central bank expanded the monetary stimulus in October to prevent slowdown in inflation amid sliding oil prices. Kuroda said the BOJ will not hesitate to take action again if risks threaten the realization of its 2 percent inflation target.