South Korea and Japan report jump in industrial output

Nissan cars ready for export
Image caption Japanese carmakers have been leading the recovery in the country's factory output

South Korea and Japan posted a rise in their factory outputs easing concerns about a slowdown in their economies.

Output in South Korea rose by 3.3% in January from December, while Japan reported a rise of 2%.

The jump in Japan's numbers was led by auto and electronics makers as they continue to recover from disruptions caused by floods in Thailand.

The data also allayed fears that demand from eurozone, a key market for Asian goods, may be hurt by the debt crisis.

"I think the pressure (from the euro zone) is easing," said Hwang Na-Young of Taurus Investment & Securities.

"The crisis in Europe looks like it has passed the critical point and the effects, although they have yet to reach the real economy, have been taking less of a toll on stock markets."

'Production override'

Japanese car manufacturers have had to endure tough times in the past twelve months.

The earthquake and tsunami in March last year caused widespread damage to Japan's supply chain, resulting in a shortage of parts.

The country's auto manufacturers were forced to suspend or curb production at their facilities.

Just as they were recovering, carmakers were dealt another blow by flooding in Thailand late last year, which hurt their supply chains and output once again.

Analysts said that carmakers have been ramping up their production during their recovery from those shocks, which is helping boost the overall factory output.

"Car makers are now fully recovered from the earthquake damage and they are now in production override, trying to make up for the lost output in 2011," said Takuji Okubo of Societe Generale.

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