Page last updated at 07:40 GMT, Monday, 19 January 2009

Japanese output plunges further

Robots made by Japanese toy giant Tomy
World demand for and output of industrial products is plunging

Industrial output in Japan dropped 8.5% in November compared with the previous month, larger than initially estimated.

The drop represents the biggest fall since records of such output statistics began in 1953.

Compared with a year earlier, the country's industrial output fell 16.6%, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.

Factories were closed and jobs cut as demand for manufactured goods slumped amid the global financial downturn.

Another record fall

It was also reported last week that Japanese machinery orders, seen as a barometer of corporate spending activity, had posted their steepest monthly fall on record in November.

Core private sector machinery orders, excluding orders from electric power firms and shipbuilders, fell 16% from October to 754bn yen ($8.4bn; 5.8bn).

Japan is the world's second-largest economy, and Asia's largest.

It has been directly hit by the slump in demand caused by the spreading global downturn.

The Japanese government has already predicted that the economy will not grow in 2009.

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