Tokyo, Feb. 17 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s seasonally adjusted core machinery orders in December last year increased 5.2 pct from the previous month, rising for the third consecutive month, 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 899.6 billion yen.
For the whole of 2020, core machinery orders plunged 8.4 pct to 9,557 billion yen, falling for the second straight year due to low motivation for capital investment amid the novel coronavirus crisis.
The drop was the largest since the 27.2 pct in 2009, when the collapse of U.S. investment fund Lehman Brothers triggered a global financial crisis.
In December, orders from manufacturers grew 12.2 pct thanks to high demand for semiconductor chip production equipment.
Core orders from nonmanufacturers climbed 4.3 pct, reflecting system investments by financial and other industries.
The Cabinet Office said that machinery orders are picking up, upgrading its basic view for three months in a row.
Core machinery orders for October-December expanded 16.8 pct from the previous quarter, the highest growth rate since comparable records began in fiscal 2005. The boost was led by demand for general-purpose and production machinery.
In January-March this year, core orders are projected to decline 8.5 pct. The forecast does not take into consideration the effects of the ongoing coronavirus state of emergency, and the Cabinet Office said that it will “continue to monitor downside risks.”