• Kyodo

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Japan’s industrial output rose 2.0 percent in February from the previous month to a three-year high, reflecting robust growth in the vehicle and industrial machinery sectors, government data showed Friday.

The better-than-expected reading followed a revised 0.4 percent fall in January.

In a nod to relatively solid output forecasts, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry kept its basic assessment unchanged, saying industrial production showed signs of improving.

The seasonally adjusted index of output at factories and mines stood at 102.2 against the base of 100 in 2010, the highest level since January 2014, when it was 103.2, the ministry said in a preliminary report.

Contributing in large part to the rebound in the February headline reading, the transport equipment manufacturing sector, including automakers, surged 4.7 percent, reflecting brisk vehicle production for exports to North America.

The chemical sector logged a 7.2 percent rise as it boosted production for new foundation and other cosmetic products for the spring season, as well as for exports.

The output of industrial machinery was also brisk, especially cranes for use at shipbuilding yards and steam turbine parts for electric power companies, helping to offset an output decline in the electronics parts and devices sector.

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