The nation’s industrial production fell a seasonally adjusted 1.7 percent in April from the previous month for the second straight monthly dip, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a preliminary report released Tuesday.
The decline was 2.1 percent in March.
The figures are based on the index of output at mines and factories, which fell to the same level as the 1995 base of 100, its lowest reading since July 1999, the ministry said.
The ministry said it will closely monitor production activity, particularly given the rising trend in inventories, but maintained its assessment that production is on a “falling trend.”
A ministry official said production activities cannot yet be defined as “stagnant,” its worst assessment to date, and thus left its view unchanged in April after having downgraded it for four straight months.
The index of inventories rose 2.1 percent to 100.2 for the fourth consecutive monthly gain, topping 100 for the first time in 29 months.
The inventory-to-shipment ratio index rose 3.1 percent to 109.9 for the fifth straight monthly climb.
The official said he sees indications that production activities are about to enter a corrective phase
Breaking down the production figures, there was a 6.1 percent decline in the output of personal computers, mobile phones and other electrical machinery — the biggest factor behind the decline.
Falls in production of semiconductor-making equipment also continued to play a part.
These falls more than offset a 4.8 percent increase in the output of cars and other transport equipment.
The index of industrial shipments decreased 2.5 percent to 101, pulled down by declines in shipments of personal computers, mobile phones and chip-manufacturing machinery.
Inventories were boosted by products facing a downturn in demand, including polyethylene, memory chips and special steel pipes.
In addition, active inventory building to meet strong demand slowed for a type of liquid crystal device.
Looking ahead, the ministry said it expects production by manufacturers to gain 0.3 percent in May but to fall 0.8 percent in June, but results have fallen short of ministry forecasts for the past 10 months.
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