Ja­pan ma­chin­ery or­ders hit by worst-ever slump in Septem­ber

Business World - - World Business -

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. —

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