Japan industrial production slumps in July
LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- Japan's industrial output showed a surprise drop in July, with an equally bleak view for the months ahead, even as household spending for the month indicated unexpected strength.
Japan's industrial production fell 1.2% during July, for a drop of 1% from a year earlier, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Friday.
The result confounded expectations for a sharp rise of 1.8% month-on-month, according to a survey of economists reported by Dow Jones Newswires.
Drops in electronics parts and devices led the decline, followed by general machinery, the ministry said.
The unexpected downturn mirrored June's industrial data, which clocked a 0.1% drop against expectations for a 1.6% rise.
Meanwhile, a survey of production forecasts, released with the data Friday, showed expectations that production would tick 0.1% higher in August, but then tumble 3.3% in September.
The disappointing results contrasted with stronger-than-expected consumer spending for the same month.
Spending by households of two of more people rose a price-adjusted 1.7% from a year earlier, the Statistics Bureau said in a separate data release.
The outcome beat forecasts for a 1.0% rise, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
In other data out Friday, July unemployment stood at 4.3%, unchanged from June, while the core consumer price index -- the benchmark inflation indicator for Japan, which strips out volatile fresh-food prices -- fell 0.3%.
Both results matched forecasts.
Stocks opened sharply lower after the data, with the Nikkei Stock Average (100000018) losing 1% at the start, but later paring losses to a 0.6% deficit.