Japan's industrial production rose for a second month as manufacturers increased output of automobiles and electronics parts in anticipation of higher demand overseas and at home.
Industrial production climbed a seasonally adjusted 1.5% in April from March, the trade ministry said in a report in Tokyo today. The median forecast of 40 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 1.8% gain.
Rising demand for Japanese automobiles and electronics in the U.S. and China, Japan's largest export markets, is encouraging manufacturers to expand production after it surged to a record in the first quarter. Production will keep increasing in the coming months, propelling the economy toward its longest postwar expansion, economists said.
Exports surged 11% in April, the sixth month they rose more than 10%. Exports rose 7% last year. Measured by volume, which closely correlates with production and doesn't take into account price fluctuations, exports rose 6.2%, gaining for the ninth month.
Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. increased production in April to meet higher demand. Toyota, Japan's largest automaker, boosted domestic production 8.4%, the fastest since December. Honda, Japan's third-largest carmaker, extended production at home by 5.5%. Honda is preparing to build a factory north of Tokyo, its first factory in Japan in 30 years.