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National industrial production rose an unadjusted 1.6 percent in fiscal 2005 for the fourth consecutive year of growth, supported by brisk demand for electronic devices and transportation equipment, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a preliminary report Friday.

The index of output at mines and factories registered 102.1 against the base of 100 for 2000, hitting its highest level based on 2000 standards, which retrospectively apply to data from January 1998, METI said in the preliminary report.

In fiscal 2005, the index of industrial shipments grew 2.4 percent to 105.0, also up for the fourth year in a row and the highest figure so far based on the 2000 standards.

The index of industrial inventories rose 3.1 percent to 90.2 for the second yearly gain. The margin of increase was the largest based on the 2000 standards.

In March, the output index edged up a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent to 103.7 from the previous month for the first rise in three months. The outcome was slightly above the average market forecast of a 0.1 percent increase.

Robust demand for vehicles and electronic devices was mostly responsible for pushing up the March figure. In the reporting month, output expanded in compact cars for export to the North American and Middle Eastern markets, new minivehicles, and devices for manufacturing game consoles and mobile phones, a METI official said.