The manufacturing sector in Japan was barely in expansion in March, the latest survey from Markit Economics revealed on Tuesday, with a PMI score of 50.4.
That was well shy of forecasts for 52.0, and it was down from 51.6 in February.
It was also the lowest reading since October, although it remains barely above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.
“March data highlighted a weaker improvement
in operating conditions in the Japanese manufacturing sector. New orders contracted
slightly, while production growth slowed to a moderate pace,” Markit economist Amy Brownbill said.
Among the individual components of the survey, the output index slipped to 52.0 from 53.5 in the previous month – also touching a five-month low reading.
New export orders and input prices also continued to expand, albeit at a slower rate, while stocks of purchases and stocks of finished goods moved to expansion after contracting a month earlier.
New orders, backlogs of work and quantity of purchases all swung into contraction after expanding in February.
Output prices contracted at a slower pace, while supplier delivery times shortened after expanding a month earlier.
“Employment growth eased to the weakest pace in the current sequence of expansion, while buying activity declined for the first time since May 2014, albeit at a fractional rate. Meanwhile, new orders from abroad increased, with a favorable yen/dollar rate helping to improve price competitiveness,” Brownbill said.
The material has been provided by InstaForex Company – www.instaforex.com