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Industrial production rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3 percent in August from the previous month for the first gain in three months.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Thursday in a preliminary report that the increase was mainly due to firm demand for electronic parts and devices as well as air conditioners.

The index of mine and factory output edged up to 101.0 against the base of 100 for 2000. The production index rose 0.8 percent in May, fell 1.3 percent in June and was flat in July.

“The overall upward trend in industrial production remains unchanged,” a METI official said.

METI predicts industrial production will expand 1.3 percent in September, primarily due to planned launches of new personal computer models, before contracting 0.5 percent in October. Private-sector economists shared the government’s upbeat view, but warned against the negative effects of surging crude oil prices on the global and domestic economies.

“Although industrial output is expected to fall in October, the margin of decline is likely to be small, and a pickup in core machinery orders for the October-December period is predicted,” said Tatsushi Shikano, a senior economist at UFJ Institute Ltd.

But if the current uptrend of crude oil prices continues, it would hamper the global and Japanese economies and eventually hurt industrial production, Shikano said.

Output of electronic parts and devices grew 5.6 percent in August from the previous month on the back of firm demand related to personal computers and home-use game equipment, the METI official said.

The output of the electrical machinery sector expanded 6.2 percent as a heat wave through early August prompted manufacturers to boost air conditioner output.

The index of industrial shipments fell 2.1 percent to 101.3 after a 0.5 percent rise in July, while the industrial inventories index climbed 2.0 percent to 89.7, up for the first time in four months.

Although the margin of growth in the inventory index was the largest under the current base year, the METI official brushed aside concern that surging inventories might lead to slower economic growth.

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