Japanese core machinery orders rose 7.5% on month in February, data showed Thursday, rebounding from a fall the previous month, but not by enough to suggest a change in the overall trend.
The rise was slightly larger than expected by economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires and the Nikkei, who estimated on average that core orders increased 7.0% from the previous month. Core orders fell 13.1% in January.
Compared with the previous year, the unadjusted core orders fell 11.3%, according to (Nikkei) website.
“This month was a rebound from the considerable fall last month,” said a government official briefing reporters on the data. “Our assessment is still that (the indicator) is gradually recovering.”
The official noted, however, that achieving the government’s forecast for an overall 0.8% rise in the January-March quarter or even a positive figure for the period would be “difficult.”
The increase was supported by a rise in orders for electronics-related equipment such as X-ray machines, non-ferrous metals, and equipment used by the retail and real estate sectors.
Economists said that because the figure is from February, it is still difficult to point to an improvement in the trend, but that orders should pick up in coming months led by the manufacturing sector, as overall economic conditions improve.
Machinery orders are widely regarded as a leading indicator of corporate capital investment. Core orders exclude those from electric power companies and those for ships, which are often a source of volatility in the overall data due to their large sizes.