TOKYO (AP) - Japan's seasonally adjusted industrial output climbed 2.5 percent in December from the month before, suggesting the recession-struck economy may be stabilizing, though the gains were less than forecast.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Thursday that stronger output of large passenger cars and vehicle components and machinery for making semiconductors were the main factors helped drive the improvement.
December's increase in industrial output compared with a month-on-month drop of 1.4 percent in November. Most analysts had forecast an improvement of more than 4 percent in December.
METI said inventories fell 1.1 percent from the month before while shipments rose 4.4 percent.
Earlier this week the government revised upward, to 2.5 percent from 1.7 percent, its forecast for economic growth in the coming fiscal year, which begins April 1.