Tokyo, May 20 (Jiji Press)–Seasonally adjusted core machinery orders in Japan in March fell 0.4 pct from the previous month, down for the first time in three 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 854.7 billion yen.
The March result, which followed a 2.3 pct increase in February, compared with the median estimate of a 7.0 pct decline among 17 economic research institutes surveyed by Jiji Press.
Orders from automobile and auto parts makers, and electric machinery makers declined 28.4 pct and 24.4 pct, respectively, apparently due to impacts of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Orders from the entire manufacturing sector fell 8.2 pct to 343 billion yen, down for the second consecutive month.
Nonmanufacturing-sector orders, excluding those for ships and power equipment, rose 5.3 pct to 509.2 billion yen, up for two months in a row, on the back of strong demand for train cars and other transport machinery.
Total machinery orders, including orders from the public sector and abroad, grew 3.0 pct to 2,289 billion yen, following a 6.9 pct drop in February.
The Cabinet Office kept its view unchanged, saying that machinery orders are at a standstill. The assessment was based on the fact that core orders in January-March were down only 0.7 pct from October-December 2019.
In April-June, core machinery orders are projected to decline 0.9 pct.
The Cabinet Office conducted the survey in late March, before the government declared a state of emergency over the virus crisis in April.
“The economic condition has become more severe since then,” an official of the government agency said. “We will monitor the situation cautiously.”