Japan Nov core machinery orders tank more than expected

By Yoshifumi Takemoto and Kantaro Komiya

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s core machinery orders fell further than expected in November, prompting the government to slash its view on the barometer of the corporate investment in the world’s third-largest economy to “stalling”.

Separate Reuters survey data showed confidence at big Japanese manufacturers had logged the first negative reading in two years, reflecting a slow recovery from the pandemic amid a global economic downturn and rising living costs.

Core machinery orders fell 8.3% in November from the previous month, government data showed on Wednesday.

The decline was significantly bigger than the 0.9% dip expected by economists in a Reuters poll and marked the first decrease in two months after a 5.4% gain in October.

The Cabinet Office cut its assessment of the orders to “stalling”, deleting a previously used expression that they were in recovery. The downgrade in the assessment was first since September, when orders unexpectedly shrank.

Orders from manufacturers fell 9.3% in November, a third consecutive month of contraction, driven down by a 32.7% decline in orders from electric-machinery companies. Demand for items such as semiconductor-making equipment turned weaker, a government official told a media briefing.

“Concerns about a slowing global economy are causing domestic demand to slow down,” the official said.

Non-manufacturers in “core” sectors excluding ship and electric utility firms also cut their orders by 3.0%, following a 14.0% increase in October.

Core orders, a highly volatile data series regarded as a leading indicator of capital spending in the coming six to nine months, were down 3.7% in November on a year earlier, versus a forecast 2.4% increase, the data showed.

(Reporting by Yoshifumi Takemoto and Kantaro Komiya; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim)