Tokyo - Japanese factories boosted output in September, data showed Wednesday, reversing a slide the previous month and supplying more evidence that the world's third-largest economy is gathering steam.
Industrial production rose 1.5 percent month-on-month, compared with a revised fall of 0.9 percent in August as demand for electronics and cars rose ahead of a sales tax hike next year.
Over the three months to September, Japanese plants expanded production by 1.8 percent.
“Industrial production continues to show an upward movement,” the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.
The fresh figures come after separate data Tuesday showed that Japan's thrifty households boosted their spending last month while the unemployment rate fell.
The 3.7 percent on-year jump in spending - the best result in six months - far outstripped economists' expectations.
Japanese growth has easily outpaced expansion in other G7
nations this year and the government hailed recent consumer price data as showing it is winning the war on deflation.
The latest spending figures and a stronger labour market are key yardsticks for the success of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's policy blitz, dubbed “Abenomics,” aimed at stoking growth.
The spending jump was likely driven by expectations over a sales tax hike approved earlier this month as consumers looked to buy goods more cheaply before the increase.
There are fears that the rate rise, designed to bring down Japan's staggering national debt, could derail its recovery.
But Tokyo has been under heavy pressure to reduce a debt mountain that is proportionately the heaviest burden among rich countries, at more than twice the size of the economy.
Abe has pledged to drag Japan out of its 15-year deflationary spiral by stoking price rises through lifting wages and consumption.
A producers' survey released with the industrial production figures on Wednesday showed manufacturers have mixed expectations over the coming months, forecasting a 4.7 percent output rise in October before a decline of 1.2 percent in November.
Last week, Tokyo hailed a key inflation indicator touching a five-year high as proof its growth blitz was working.
Stripping out volatile fresh food and energy prices, which have largely driven recent increases, prices did not fall in September - deflation-plagued Japan's best result since December 2008. - Sapa-AFP