Japan’s core private-sector machinery orders in April dived a seasonally adjusted 8.8 percent from the previous month, the government said Wednesday, casting a shadow over prospects for a pickup in business investment that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sees as a mainstay of economic growth.
The orders, which exclude those for ships as well as those from utilities because of their volatility, fell for the first time in three months to 723.3 billion yen, the Cabinet Office said. They slid at their fastest pace since January 2009, when the country’s economy was sluggish in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis.
It was also the third-sharpest month-on-month drop in the orders, regarded as a leading indicator of capital spending, since comparable data became available in April 2005. In March, they rose at their quickest pace ever.
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