Auto production in Japan rose for the first time in September, ending 14 months downtrend. Bullish auto demand in China and Southeast Asia aided the increase in vehicle output. Production by eight leading automakers at domestic and overseas plants rose by 1.5pc from Sept 2019 to 2.39mn units.
The output in September was also higher by 29.5pc from August. Out of total auto production, car production had the largest share with 1.6mn units, up 2.1pc from the prior year, and by 22pc from August. Domestic car output in Japan was 791,256 units, higher by 0.4pc from September last year and by 47.7pc from August 2020.
Japan Auto Manufacturers Association (JAMA) report indicates that September’s vehicle exports declined by 5.7pc to 377,953 units, while domestic sales lowered by 14.3pc to 469,705 units, from the same month 2019. The decline, however, was less steep compared to August volumes when exports and domestic sales had tumbled by 30.5pc and 16pc, respectively.
In the Jan-Aug period, total vehicle production in Japan declined by 25.5pc from the prior-year period to 4.87mn units, according to JAMA. During the period, vehicle exports dropped by 31.8pc to 2.18mn units. Domestic sales decreased by 18.6pc to 2.93mn units from the prior year. This decline was due to the weak demand for vehicles amid the pandemic.
Industrial output rises
Output by manufacturers, surveyed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), is expected to rise by 4.5pc in October and 1.2pc in November. Japan’s industrial output rose for the fourth month in September. The Japanese economy is on a gradual path to recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, aided by improved internal and external demand for Japanese products.
In line with the recovery in the auto and industrial sectors, major steelmakers have restarted their blast furnaces, idled to cope with weak steel demand. JFE Steel refired its blast furnace BF No.4 at Fukuyama on August 26, instead of late October, while Nippon Steel disclosed its plans to blow its idled BF No.2 at the Kimitsu Works by the end of the year.