Core private-sector machinery orders in April soared a seasonally adjusted 10.8 percent over the previous month to 1.140 trillion yen, the highest since August 2000, the government said Friday.

The gain is also the biggest since the start of the economic recovery cycle in February 2002, an official at the Cabinet Office said.

Despite the surge in the notoriously volatile segment, the government left its assessment unchanged from March, saying the trend in core orders “has been seesawing since the beginning of this year.”

“We maintained our previous month’s assessment because the surge in April followed a sharp fall in March and large-lot orders for railroad vehicles pushed up the overall machinery orders,” the official explained.

April’s outcome was higher than the market’s average projection of a 3.9 percent rise. Core orders dropped 5.2 percent in March.

On a year-on-year basis, core orders jumped an unadjusted 12.2 percent, the Cabinet Office said.

Many private-sector economists took the result as a sign of continuing growth in capital investment this year.

“We should say the core machinery orders were strong in April because core orders rose roughly 9 percent, even excluding the transport sector, which covers (trains),” said Takuji Aida, chief economist at Barclays Capital Japan Ltd.

“This data are for the beginning month of a new business year and they suggest that Japanese companies so far show no sign of slowing down in their capital investment this year,” Aida said.

According to the Cabinet Office, orders from manufacturers climbed 8.0 percent from the previous month to 492.8 billion yen in April after a 5.9 percent fall in March.

By sector, orders from the general machinery industry grew 34.1 percent and those from the paper and pulp industry shot up 170.4 percent.

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