Business / Economy

Japan's core machinery orders log first rise in four months


Seasonally adjusted core machinery orders in February rose 1.8 percent from the previous month, up for the first time in four months, the Cabinet Office said Wednesday.

Private-sector orders, excluding those for ships and power equipment — closely watched as a leading indicator of corporate capital spending — came to ¥836.7 billion. A large-scale order in the manufacturing industry helped lift the overall figure.

The February result, which followed a 5.4 percent drop in January, was weaker than the median estimate of a 2.5 percent rise by the 19 economic research institutes surveyed by Jiji Press.

The Cabinet Office kept its basic assessment unchanged, saying machinery orders are stalling. Although machinery orders stopped falling, it is unclear whether capital spending will remain firm amid growing uncertainties over the course of the global economy.

Machinery orders “increased from the previous month, but an improvement in business sentiment has not been confirmed,” a Cabinet Office official said.

Orders from manufacturers gained 3.5 percent, the first increase in four months, buoyed by the large-scale order in the shipbuilding industry. Orders also expanded from oil and coal producers, as well as metal products makers.

Core orders from nonmanufacturers fell 0.8 percent, down for the second straight month. Information service and leasing companies were sluggish.

Overall machinery orders, including those from the public sector and abroad, advanced 5.4 percent to ¥2.355 trillion.