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UPDATE 1-Japan's factory output growth hits 6-yr high in April on solid exports

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* April factory output +4.0 pct vs f'cast +4.3 pct

* Manufacturers expect output to dip in May, rise in June

* Japan economy recovering on robust global demand, exports (Adds detail, background)

TOKYO, May 31 (Reuters) - Japan's factory output rebounded in April from the previous month at the fastest pace in almost six years, adding to growing signs of improvement in the economy.

Japan's industrial output rose 4.0 percent in April from the previous month, the strongest growth since posting a 4.2 percent gain in June 2011. The result compared with the median estimate for a 4.3 percent rise in a Reuters poll of economists. It followed a revised 1.9 percent decrease in March, preliminary data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed on Wednesday.

The strong output data, which analysts say closely correlates with gross domestic product data, suggests the economy is off to a strong start in the second quarter as robust overseas demand continues to support growth.

Manufacturers surveyed by the ministry expect output to fall 2.5 percent in May and rise 1.8 percent in June.

Japan's economy grew in the first quarter at the fastest rate in a year to mark the longest period of expansion in a decade, thanks to solid exports and a helpful boost from private consumption. (Reporting by Minami Funakoshi; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Eric Meijer)