Japan's output falls, assessment downgraded

Japan's industrial output fell in August for the second month in row. Government officials blame a global semiconductor shortage and the impact of the coronavirus in Southeast Asia.

The industry ministry says the output index slipped 3.2 percent from the previous month. Twelve of 15 sectors saw a downturn.

Ministry officials say the chip shortage and strained supply chains in Southeast Asia weighed on the production of automobiles and auto parts.

They also revised their assessment. They previously described Japan's industrial output as "recovering" and now say it's "stalling."

Even so, they are expecting a rebound up 0.2 percent in September and 6.8 percent in October.

The officials warned of downward risk, even though current plans by producers indicate growth. They noted the need to keep a close watch on the effects of the prolonged shortages of semiconductors and auto parts.