Many Asian countries that depend on exports face supply shortages, power outages and other problems.
Information released on Thursday showed that output at Japanese factories has slowed and expectations for China’s manufacturing have weakened.
Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corporation has become the latest automaker to freeze production lines for days due to a lack of parts. Suzuki said it plans to suspend operations at a factory in central Japan. Another factory is also expected to freeze production for two days.
Japan’s emergency coronavirus measures ended on September 30. But other countries have reinstated restrictions. This made experts uncertain about economic conditions.
Closures linked to the pandemic have affected manufacturers across Asia. In Japan, industrial production in August fell 3.2% from the previous month. Auto makers and producers of information technology products and other electronic equipment have been hit the hardest, the Japanese government reported.
Other automakers have also slowed down their operations. They say shortages of computer chips and other parts are interfering with normal production.
Shortages may last longer than expected
Retail sales in Japan fell 4.1% from the previous month. It was more than expected. Low demand for clothing and Appliances were blamed for the decrease.
In a commentary, Harumi Taguchi of research firm IHS Markit warned, “The risks of semiconductors and other making up shortages could persist for an extended period. Semiconductors are a very important part for electronics. Taguchi blamed new coronavirus infections in some countries and slow vaccination campaigns in Southeast Asia.
In addition to Japan, an official factory study managers showed that Chinese manufacturing also slowed in August.
The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index is a widely used measure of business activity. For China, the index fell from 50.1 in August to 49.6 in September. An index value less than 50 means business activity is decreasing while a value greater than 50 means it is expanding.
The study was carried out before power cuts began to cause factories in parts of China to suspend operations.
Capital Economics researcher Julian Evans-Pritchard said in a report that the energy-intensive chemical and metal industries showed the most weakness. Pritchard said business leaders “have noted that material shortages and transportation delays are still hampering production.”
The growing demand for computers for people working from home rather than the office has resulted in a limited supply of computer parts.
Shortages of shipping containers and temporary port closures due to COVID-19 outbreaks have also led to slowdowns in product marketing.
Dutch bank Rabobank said in a report on the shipping industry that the port closures have had long-term effects.
Rabobank reported, “Chinese and Southeast Asian ports are still suffering from the consequences of those earlier closings, with record queues of ships awaiting unloading. “Queue means a queue of people or things waiting.
He estimated that 10% of the world’s shipping containers are on ships awaiting unloading at a port.
I am Mario Ritter, Jr.
Elaine Kurtenbach reported this story for The Associated Press. Mario Ritter Jr. adapted it for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
Words in this story
retail –Adj. selling products to the people who use them and not to other businesses
making up -not. a part of something (like a system or a mixture): an important part of something
persist –V. continue to occur or exist beyond the usual, expected or normal time
director -not. someone who is responsible for a company, department or similar organization
consequences -not. (PL.) something that happens as a result of a particular action or set of conditions
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