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Japan’s factory output sees unexpected decline

Japan’s factory output unexpectedly declined for the first time in three months in April amid a global slowdown, in a weak start to the country’s second quarter.

Industrial production fell 0.4% from the previous month after two consecutive months of increases, according to industry ministry data released Wednesday. Economists had forecast a 1.4% rise. Factory machinery, metal products and automakers’ output dragged on the overall figures.

The latest results likely reflected impact from the global slowdown, overshadowing the positive effects from improving supply chains. The weakness in domestic production is a potential drag for the Japanese economy, which has recently shown some signs of recovery, especially in the first quarter.