Japan September output likely fell as supply disruptions hit automakers

Rising commodity prices and China's faltering recovery have recently added to headaches for Japanese manufacturers, clouding the outlook for the export-reliant economy, analysts say

  
Employees wearing protective face masks work on the automobile assembly line as the maker ramps up car production with new security and health measures as a step to resume fully operation, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Kawasaki factory of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp., owned by Germany-based Daimler AG, in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo, Japan May 18, 2020.

Employees wearing protective face masks work on the automobile assembly line as the maker ramps up car production with new security and health measures as a step to resume fully operation, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Kawasaki factory of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp., owned by Germany-based Daimler AG, in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo, Japan May 18, 2020.

REUTERS/Issei Kato

TOKYO - Japan's factory output likely fell in September as supply chain disruptions continued to hit automakers, a Reuters poll showed, reinforcing expectations that growth in the world's third-largest economy cooled sharply in the third quarter.

Rising commodity prices and China's faltering recovery have recently added to headaches for Japanese manufacturers, clouding the outlook for the export-reliant economy, analysts say.

"Blackouts and soaring production costs in China pose additional headwinds to the recovery from the pandemic, besides parts supply issues in the coronavirus-hit Southeast Asia and the lasting global semiconductor shortage," said Takeshi Minami, chief economist at Norinchukin Research Institute.

Industrial output likely fell 3.2% in September month-on-month after dropping 3.6% in August, according to a Reuters poll of 14 economists.

Separate data is also likely to show retail sales shrank 2.3% in September from a year earlier following a 3.2% fall in August, the poll showed.

"Consumer sentiment picked up to some extent as (COVID-19) infection peaked out, but supply limit-induced weakness in car sales worked as a downward pressure," Takumi Tsunoda, senior economist at Shinkin Central Bank Research Institute.

The batch of weak data would underscore the challenges new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's ruling party face ahead of a general election on Oct. 31.

The government will release the retail sales data on Oct. 28 at 8:50 a.m. (2350GMT, Oct. 27) and industry output figures on Oct. 29 at 8:50 a.m. (2350GMT, Oct. 28.)

Japan's job data is likely to show the unemployment rate standing at 2.8% in September and the job-to-applicants ratio at 1.14, the poll showed, roughly unchanged from August.

The consumer price index (CPI) in Tokyo - a leading indicator for nationwide price inflation - likely rose 0.3% in October from a year earlier, picking up from a 0.1% gain in the prior month.

The jobs and Tokyo CPI data will be released on Oct. 29 at 8:30 a.m. (2330GMT, Oct. 28).

Japan's economy emerged from last year's pandemic-induced doldrums as robust exports offset some of the weakness in consumption. However, analysts now expect the economy grew just 0.8% in July-September on an annualised basis, cooling from 1.9% in April-June, due partly to softening factory output.  

(Reporting by Kantaro Komiya; Editing by Kim Coghill) ((Kantaro.Komiya@thomsonreuters.com; Twitter: @kantarokomiya;))


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