Feb. core machinery orders hit 2-year high

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan’s seasonally adjusted core machinery orders rose 2.1 percent from the previous month to mark a 25-month high in February, the Cabinet Office said Wednesday.

The growth reflected robust demand from manufacturers, according to data from the government agency.

Private-sector orders excluding those for ships and power equipment, closely watched as a leading indicator of corporate capital spending, came to ¥891 billion, the highest since ¥904.9 billion in January 2016. The core orders increased for the second straight month.

The February growth came against a median estimate of a 2.5 percent drop among 20 economic research institutes polled by Jiji Press. Their estimates ranged from a fall of 6.2 percent to a rise of 1.9 percent.

The agency kept its assessment unchanged, saying that machinery orders are showing signs of pickup.

Orders from manufacturers jumped 8.0 percent to ¥442.3 billion, up for two months in a row, thanks to brisk demand from steelmakers and a large-scale order from the chemical industry. Meanwhile, orders from electric machinery makers fell.

Orders from nonmanufacturers, excluding those for ships and power equipment, came to ¥465.7 billion, up a meager 0.04 percent. Orders from telecommunications and information service providers were solid.

Overall machinery orders, including those from the public sector and abroad, fell 2.3 percent to ¥2,418.8 billion, down for the first time in two months.

While public-sector orders grew 23.6 percent to ¥256.6 billion, overseas orders decreased 7.8 percent to ¥1,011.3 billion.Speech

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