Japan’s Industrial Production managed to strengthen for a fourth straight month in June by 2.4%. While improving, the metric gained at the slowest pace since March. The yearly figure still remained weak. The 12 months through June saw such production decline by 23.4%, but still posted a better result than in the year through May. Shipments of steel products such as the hot rolled and metallic coated types gained by over 11.0%, adding to investor sentiment that global trade may be rising. Inventories, however, have been slipping. In fact, the amount of mined commodities in stock have declined by yet another 1.0% on the month. Such a trend, which has been in place for at least the last six months, may allow the natural level of prices to inch ahead a bit. If the decline in supply does indeed raise these prices, then corporate profits among Japanese companies may actually begin to float upward.