Japan’s automobile production expanded for the fourth month in January, amid a strengthening U.S. recovery and signs that Europe’s sovereign- debt crisis may be contained.

Car production increased by 18.6% in January, to 837,197 units, domestic sales grew by 36.2% and exports gained 4.1%. Motorcycle sales rose 11.6% annually to 60,956 units in January.

The Chinese manufacturing index for February will show a third straight expansion and Asian stocks are poised to enter a bull market by rallying 20 percent from a two-year low in October.

“The U.S. is improving, Europe is stabilizing, and Asia is chugging along at a healthy pace,” said Matthew Circosta, an economist at Moody’s Analytics Australia Pty Ltd. in Sydney, who correctly predicted Japan’s output. “China is likely to have a soft landing.”

Industrial production in Japan is at the highest levels since the 2011 tsunami and earthquake and today’s report indicates that manufacturers will boost output this month and next. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.9% to 129.43 today in Tokyo. A close above 128.82 would mark the beginning of a bull market.


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