Japan’s industrial production fell a seasonally adjusted 0.3 percent in October from September for the second straight monthly decline, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Friday in a preliminary report.

The decline was measured by the index of output at mines and factories, which fell to 97.7 against the 1995 base of 100 after a 0.1 percent decline in September.

The October figures led the ministry to downgrade its view on Japan’s industrial production for the first time since July 2001. The ministry began upgrading its view in its February report.

“The trend of industrial production is flat,” METI said, a downward revision from its June to September stance that production was on a gradual upward trend.

The decline in October production was mainly due to September’s high output of several large-lot products. Worse-than-expected demand for the Christmas season is also behind the slide, a METI official said.

The ministry said it expects production to slip in November by 0.1 percent, but to inch up 0.6 percent in December.

“We need to carefully monitor upcoming moves, particularly of exports, which were not bad in October but remain a worrisome factor in light of the U.S. economic situation,” the official said.

Output dropped 5 percent for general machinery, 2.2 percent for transport equipment and 1.8 percent for chemicals.

Production of small cars fell 4 percent although manufacturers continued to see the market as robust overseas and improving domestically, the official said.

Output of electrical machinery rose 1 percent thanks to an 8.8 percent growth in personal computers as well as brisk output of camera-equipped mobile phones and capacitors for such phones, he said. But it remains to be seen whether computer output will continue to grow through year’s end, the official said.

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