Core machinery orders sank in April

Kyodo

Core private-sector machinery orders dived a seasonally adjusted 8.8 percent in April from the previous month, the Cabinet Office said Wednesday, casting a shadow over the pickup in business investment Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sees as a mainstay of growth.

The orders, a leading indicator of capital spending, fell for the first time in three months to ¥723.3 billion, the Cabinet Office said. They slid at their fastest pace since January 2009, when the economy was sluggish amid the financial crisis that started in 2008.

It was also the third-sharpest month-on-month decline in the orders since comparable data became available in April 2005.

The orders exclude those for ships and from utilities because of their volatility.