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Core private-sector machinery orders fell a seasonally adjusted 2.1 percent in May from the previous month to 1.12 trillion yen, following a sharp 10.8 percent jump in April, the government said Monday.

The figure, better than the average market projection of a 5.3 percent drop, represents an unadjusted 15.8 percent growth from a year earlier, the Cabinet Office said.

It followed the sharp rise in April to 1.14 trillion yen, the highest level since August 2000.

Despite the contraction in core machinery orders in May, the Cabinet Office left its assessment unchanged from April, saying the trend of core orders “has been seesawing since the beginning of this year.”

According to the office, orders from manufacturers dropped 5.5 percent in May from the previous month to 465.7 billion yen following 8.0 percent growth in April.

By sector, orders from the paper and pulp industry slumped 57.7 percent, while those from oil- and coal-product manufacturers surged 91.4 percent.

Orders from nonmanufacturers grew 0.2 percent to 655.9 billion yen after a 13.8 percent increase in April.

Orders from the transport industry expanded 44.7 percent on large-lot demand for train cars, including for bullet trains, as railways replace their vehicles with new models, a Cabinet Office official said.

Orders from financial and insurance companies fell 21.9 percent.

Private-sector machinery orders are considered a leading indicator of corporate capital spending six to nine months ahead.

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