Japan Feb industrial output rises 0.4 pct mth/mth

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TOKYO, March 30(Reuters) – Japan’s industrial output rose 0.4 percent in February but is
expected to weaken in coming months as the devastating earthquake and tsunami earlier this month
hurt factories and distribution.

The rise compared with a median market forecast of a 0.3 percent fall. It was the fourth
straight month of increases.

Manufacturers surveyed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry expect output to rise
1.4 percent in March and decline 1.3 percent in April, data showed on Wednesday.

However, the survey on companies’ output forecasts was conducted before the March 11
earthquake, although some firms may have replied after the quake, a METI official said. The
forecasts thus do not fully reflect the impact of the disaster, the official said.

The government said that although output has been showing signs of picking up, the effect of
the earthquake must be watched.

Analysts warn that production will weaken as many factories, particularly those of
automobile and electronics makers, have been forced to halt operations due to crippled supply
chains and power outages.

(Reporting by Rie Ishiguro; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

Japan Feb industrial output rises 0.4 pct mth/mth