Japan factory output up in June: govt

Japan's factory output for June ticked up on carmakers, chemical companies and others, government data showed on Monday, in the latest sign that the economy is gathering steam.

Industrial production in June grew 1.6 percent month-on-month, rebounding from a drop of a revised 3.6 percent in May, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.

Production rose at automakers, steelmakers and chemicals companies among others while output of cellphones, petroleum products and devices to make flat-panel displays and microchips fell.

The production data came after separate figures on Friday that showed household spending picked up in June after 15 months of decline.

Both reports are good news for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who swept to power in late 2012 on a pledge to reignite Japan’s once-booming economy with a policy blitz comprising massive monetary easing, stimulus spending and structural reforms.

Japan’s prospects have been improving on the back of strong exports, with investment linked to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics also giving the world’s number three economy a shot in the arm.

But concerns linger with overall inflation remains weak despite years of government efforts.

Private consumption, which accounts for more than a half of Japan’s GDP, still lacks strength as cash-rich firms have been reluctant to usher in big pay hikes.

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