Japan Flash Manufacturing PMI Contracts in April

Japanese manufacturing activity contracted in April for the first time in almost a year as domestic orders and output fell, which could fuel concerns that the country’s modest economic recovery is losing momentum.  The Markit/JMMA flash Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell to a seasonally adjusted 49.7 in April from a final 50.3 in March.

The index fell below the 50 threshold that separates contraction from expansion for the first time since May last year.  New orders fell to a preliminary 48.5 from 49.4 in March, contacting for a second straight month and at a faster clip.

The output index fell to 49.7 in April, its first contraction in nine months.  The index for new export orders also fell to a preliminary 51.0 from a final 52.0 in the previous month, but continued to expand as the weak yen helped improve Japanese exporters’ price competitiveness.