Core private-sector machinery orders climbed a seasonally adjusted 3.4 percent in February from the previous month to 1.1 trillion yen, following a 6.2 percent fall in January, the government announced Monday.
The figure represents an unadjusted 8.2 percent rise from a year earlier, the ninth straight year-on-year increase, the Cabinet Office said.
The government left its assessment that core machinery orders are on a rising trend unchanged for the sixth month in a row.
Taking the February data into account, core machinery orders will need to grow 1.1 percent in March to match the initial government forecast of a 1.3 percent expansion in the January-March period, an official of the Cabinet Office said.
“So far, core machinery orders are growing in line with our projection,” the official said, adding he believed machinery orders will continue to rise on the back of the economic recovery.
With the latest figures, core machinery orders, considered a leading indicator of corporate capital spending six to nine months ahead, have risen five quarters in a row.
If the core orders rise in the January-March period from the previous quarter, it will tie the record six straight quarterly rises from the July-September period of 1999 to the October-December period of 2000.
Private-sector economists welcomed the announcement.
“Volatility in core machinery orders has become relatively small recently and the rising trend will likely continue in sync with the economic upturn,” said Takuji Aida, chief economist at Barclays Capital Japan Ltd.
Aida added an 8.2 percent rise year-on-year means the core orders are high compared with last year.
Orders from manufacturers rose 3.1 percent from the previous month to 485.1 billion yen in February following a 5.1 percent fall in January, the Cabinet Office said.