Japan’s manufacturing activity contracted in March for the first time in almost a year as new export orders shrank sharply, a preliminary business survey showed on Tuesday, in a worrying sign that the global economy is weakening.
The Markit/Nikkei Flash Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell to 49.1 in March on a seasonally adjusted basis from a final 50.1 in February.
It fell below the 50 threshold that separates contraction from expansion for the first time since April last year.
The sub-index for new export orders fell to a preliminary 45.9 from 49.0 in February, which would indicate the sharpest contraction since January 2013 if confirmed by the final report.
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