Business / Economy

Japan machinery orders surge to June record following 7.8% drop in May

Figures boosted by four large orders for railway cars

Kyodo

Core private-sector machinery orders saw the largest increase on record in June thanks to strong demand from the transport industry, government data showed Wednesday.

The orders, which exclude ships and those placed by electric utilities due to their volatility, rose 13.9 percent from the previous month, the most since comparable data became available in April 2005. They totaled ¥960.3 billion, the largest since last August.

An official who briefed reporters, however, said that while the data showed solid domestic demand, the office also acknoledged the surge followed a 7.8 percent drop in orders in May.

“The data is prone to swing from month to month, so we take that into account,” she said, adding that impact from the trade war between the United States and China was unclear.

The Cabinet Office maintained its assessment that the orders, a leading indicator of capital expenditure, are showing “signs of picking up.”

Four big-ticket orders for railway cars significantly boosted the figures, pushing up demand from the transport industry, the official said.

Orders from nonmanufacturers, minus ships and those from electric utilities, soared 30.5 percent to ¥614.7 billion, also pushed up by the financial and information service sectors.

From manufacturers, meanwhile, orders fell 1.7 percent to ¥364.4 billion amid weak demand from makers of telecommunications equipment and production machinery.

Orders from overseas, seen as a bellwether of future exports, were up 6.7 percent to ¥855.5 billion, while overall orders including from the public sector were up 6.3 percent to ¥2.35 trillion.