Japanese industrial output fell heavily in May, reversing two months of solid gains.
According to data released by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), output slumped by 2.3%, well short of expectations for a smaller decline of 0.1%.
Output had previously increased by 3.6% and 0.3% respectively in March and April.
According to METI, output fell due to declines in the production of chemicals, construction equipment, cosmetics and semiconductors.
Although the May result was disappointing, manufacturers indicated that they expect output to rebound by 1.7% and 1.3% over the next two months.
On Friday the Nikkei-Markit manufacturing PMI report for June will be released, a gauge changes in activity levels across Japan’s industrial sector.
In recent months activity levels have been contracting, thanks in part to a series of natural disasters that struck southern parts of the nation in April, disrupting industrial supply chains.