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Labor shortage helps boost core machinery orders in July

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan’s core machinery orders rose at their fastest pace in over two years in July thanks mainly to robust spending on labor-saving technologies amid shortages of workers, the Cabinet Office said Thursday.

Core orders, or private-sector orders excluding those for ships and power equipment, rose 11.0 percent from the previous month to ¥918.6 billion after seasonal adjustment, posting the first increase in three months.

July’s growth in core machinery orders, closely watched as a leading indicator of corporate capital spending, marked the steepest increase since the 12.2 percent rise logged in January 2016.

The result beat the median estimate of a 5.6 percent rise by 18 economic research institutes surveyed by Jiji Press.

The Cabinet Office kept its assessment unchanged, saying that machinery orders have stalled. In June, core orders fell 8.8 percent.

The government plans to closely monitor effects on corporate capital expenditures from a series of recent major natural disasters in Japan, a Cabinet Office official said.

In July, orders from manufacturers surged 11.8 percent, chiefly pushed up by strong demand from chemical makers and for general-purpose and production machinery.

Orders from nonmanufacturers jumped 10.9 percent, reflecting robust demand from telecommunications firms as well as the transportation and postal service sector.

Overall machinery orders, including those from the public sector and abroad, expanded 18.8 percent to ¥2,630.4 billion following a 14.4 percent plunge in the previous month.Speech

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