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The nation’s core private-sector machinery orders rose a seasonally adjusted 2.4 percent in June from May to 954 billion yen, suggesting that capital spending outlays may increase later in the year, the government said Friday.

It was the biggest total since August 2001, when orders hit 1.02 trillion yen.

The rise brought orders for the April-June period up 3.4 percent from the previous quarter, beating the government’s initial forecast of a 10.5 percent decline, the Cabinet Office’s Economic and Social Research Institute said.

Core machinery orders are expected to grow 2.2 percent in the July-September period, according to the institute.

Private-sector machinery orders are considered a leading indicator of corporate capital spending six to nine months ahead. The core orders exclude orders for ships and from electric power companies, which tend to be volatile due to their large size.