Times Staff and Wire Reports

Bank Chief Says Kobe Quake Won't Undermine Recovery: Industrial production is returning to pre-earthquake levels, Bank of Japan Gov. Yasuo Matsushita said, and consumer spending, which dropped after the devastating temblor last month, is recovering. Matsushita said the central bank has yet to see a surge in demand for goods and services from the rebuilding of Kobe and surrounding areas, so that it is too early to say whether long-term interest rates will rise, something that tends to occur as an economy gains momentum. Since the earthquake, which struck Jan. 17, long-term rates have dipped slightly and short-term rates have remained largely unchanged.

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