Japan's core machinery orders fell a seasonally adjusted 9.1 percent in April from the previous month to JPY 851.3 billion (USD 8.3 billion) for the first drop in two months, the government said Thursday.
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.
The drop follows a record growth of 19.1 percent in March, according to data released by the Cabinet Office. In March, companies apparently rushed to invest in plants and equipments ahead of the April 1 tax hike, from 5 percent to 8 percent.
By industry, orders by manufacturers declined 9.4 percent month-on-month in April, while those from non-manufacturers edged up 0.9 percent. Overseas demand, an indicator of future Japanese exports, surged 71.3 percent.
Despite worsening data, the Cabinet Office maintained its basic assessment on the orders, saying, "machinery orders are on a growth trend."