TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan's industrial production rose 0.6 percent in July from the previous month for the fourth straight monthly rise, in a fresh sign of recovery from the aftermath of the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami, government data showed Wednesday.
Growth, however, decelerated from the 3.8 percent rise in June, and manufacturers anticipated that output will grow 2.8 percent in August but fall 2.4 percent in September, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a preliminary report.
The ministry maintained its basic assessment, saying that output is "on a recovery trend."
Japan's production has been recovering from a deep slump caused by the March natural calamities, which largely affected major auto and high-tech makers by disrupting the nationwide supply chain of industrial products.
But increasing concerns over the outlook of overseas economies and the yen's strength, coming close to postwar record highs, cast a cloud over the Japanese economy, with these factors believed to be major reasons behind the somber production outlook for September, Takahide Kiuchi, chief economist at Nomura Securities Co., said.
"The environment for exports is deteriorating," he said, adding that there is a growing risk Japan's industrial output will not regain pre-disaster levels until next year.
For July, the index of output at factories and mines stood at 93.2 against the base of 100 for 2005, the ministry said. Figures are adjusted for seasonal factors.
By sector, output by transport equipment makers, including automakers, rose 5.3 percent, marking the third consecutive month of growth.
Output of electronic information and communications equipment, such as mobile phones and personal computers, shot up 15.7 percent and that of general machinery makers gained 0.6 percent.
On the other hand, output of electronic parts and devices fell 3.4 percent in reaction to a recent surge in demand for parts used in liquid crystal display TVs ahead of Japan's switch to terrestrial digital broadcasting in late July.
Power shortage concerns, stemming from the Fukushima nuclear crisis, triggered by the March disaster, were not extensively cited as a reason behind the decelerated output growth for July by surveyed manufacturers, a ministry official said in briefing the data.
The index of industrial shipments grew 0.2 percent to 94.5 and that of industrial inventories was down 0.2 percent to 100.6.