Japan's core machinery orders fell a seasonally adjusted 8.8 percent in April from the previous month to JPY 723.3 billion (USD 7.5 billion) for the first decline in three months, as manufacturers were reluctant to make fresh capital investment after sharp growth in March the government said Wednesday.
The drop, which followed a 14.2 percent jump in March, was the largest month-on-month fall since January 2009 amid the global recession triggered by the 2008 Lehman Brothers collapse, according to data released by the Cabinet Office.
Core private-sector orders, which exclude volatile demand from electric utilities and for ships, are considered a key indicator of corporate capital spending in the next three to six months.
By industry, orders by manufacturers plunged 7.3 percent month-on-month in April, while those from non-manufacturers went down 6.0 percent. Overseas demand, an indicator of future Japanese exports, lost 19.9 percent. Despite worsening data, the Cabinet Office maintained its basic assessment for four months in a row, saying, "The machinery orders have been showing signs of moderately picking up."