The Guardian - Industrial output has peaked in October and is now showing a downtrend. Although inventories have not accumulated much, a fall in shipments contributed to the production slump. We cannot expect much improvement in final demand, with exports showing signs of a slowdown, so industrial output will slow further towards the middle of this year. We expect the Bank of Japan to further downgrade its assessment in its twice-yearly outlook report in April, and it would force the Bank of Japan to lean towards cutting rates.