Japan’s long-suffering economy continues to show signs of a fragile return to growth, with industrial production rising 0.2% in April according to new figures from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The increase is the third in as many months – following rises of 0.8% in March and 1.2% in February – but came in below analysts’ expectations of 0.9%.

The government believes the economy has hit bottom, with rising exports (especially to other Asian countries) strengthening the manufacturing sector. Led by a 3.9% boost in electronics production, April’s output rise was accompanied by a 0.8% climb in shipments and a 1.6% fall in inventories.

However, future growth is far from guaranteed, with a 0.4% decline in output forecast for June. Much depends on the recovery in the US, a vital export market.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff