Japan machinery orders hit by worst-ever slump in September
TOKYO — Japan’s core machinery orders tumbled by the most on record in September after a severe earthquake and typhoons disrupted business activity, with economists now also worried about a fall in overseas orders.
The 18.3% slump in machinery orders far outpaced the median market estimate for a 10% decline and follows a 6.8% increase in August.
September’s 12.5% decline in overseas machinery orders, the biggest such fall in more than two years, could signal sustained weakness in export demand.
Japan’s economy is forecast to contract in July-September, and the machinery orders slump suggests any rebound in the following quarters is likely to be weak if exports and business investment lose momentum.
Manufacturers surveyed by the government expect core machinery orders to rise 3.6% in OctoberDecember after a 0.9% increase in July-September, but some economists worry this forecast is overly optimistic.
Orders from manufacturers fell 17.3% in September after a 6.6% in August, due to declining demand from makers of chemicals, electronics and vehicles, the data showed.
Service-sector orders fell 17.1%, versus a 6% increase in the previous month, due to a decline in orders for railway cars, heavy machinery, and computers.
“Core” machinery orders exclude those for ships and from electricity utilities. —