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WORLD WATCH

International Business / The Pacific

May 30, 1996

Japan Output Jumps but Recovery Still Fragile: Japanese industrial output rebounded sharply last month, the government reported, reinforcing the view that a gradual economic recovery is continuing. But economists warned that the recovery is fragile and has not gained sufficient momentum for Japan to alter its five-year policy of low interest rates. The Trade Ministry said Japanese firms increased production 3.9% in April over the previous month, when production had declined 6%. Robust output of personal computers and cellular phones led the growth in April, but the ministry said many companies' inventories remained too high. The data were largely as expected, and Tokyo financial markets shrugged off the report. Private economists had predicted that April industrial output would show a month-on-month increase of 3% to 4.2%. Economists said it is too early to say the recovery will be sustained for long.

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