Japan’s core private-sector machinery orders fell 2.4 percent in August from the previous month for the second straight monthly decline, weighed down by sluggish demand from the nonferrous metal and information services sectors, government data showed Thursday.
The orders, which exclude ships and those placed by electric utilities due to their volatility, totaled 875.25 billion yen ($8.14 billion), according to the Cabinet Office.
Despite the fall, the office maintained its assessment that the orders, seen as a leading indicator of capital expenditure, are showing “signs of picking up.”
A government official who briefed reporters said, “The upward trend has not changed, judging from the average movements of the (past) few months.”
In the reporting month, orders from manufacturers were down 1.0 percent to 380.19 billion yen, due partly to weak demand for nuclear power-related equipment and metal processing machinery from the nonferrous metals sector.
Demand from nonmanufacturers, minus orders for ships and those from power companies, dropped 8.0 percent to 477.32 billion yen, pulled down by the information services and construction sectors.
But orders from overseas, seen as an indicator of future exports, jumped 21.3 percent to 975.74 billion yen, led by costly orders such as for railway cars and computers.
The adverse effect of overseas factors, including simmering trade tensions between the United States and China, was limited in the reporting month, the official said.
Total orders rose 11.8 percent to 2.63 trillion yen, spurred by big-ticket orders, including for computers by the public sector.