Japan’s November machinery orders stall in worrying sign over business spending

17-Jan-2019 Intellasia | Reuters | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Japan’s core machinery orders slowed sharply in November in a sign corporate capital expenditure could lose momentum as a bruising US-China trade war spills into the global economy.

The slight 0.02 percent decline month-on-month in core machinery orders, considered a leading indicator of capital expenditure, was well below the median estimate for a 3.5 percent increase and marked a slowdown from a 7.6 percent expansion in October.

A trade war between the United States and China is weighing on growth in the world’s two largest economies, which threatens Japan’s growth because its exporters could delay investment and hiring due to worries about corporate profits.

The potential slowdown in business spending comes at a difficult time for Japan because the government is preparing to raise the nationwide sales tax in October, which is expected to curb consumer spending.

“Companies are delaying capex plans because they’re worried about the trade war, so Japan’s economic growth is likely to fall below its potential rate,” said Hiroaki Muto, economist at Tokai Tokyo Research Centre.

“This means less inflationary pressure. The government should not hesitate to delay the sales tax hike. The Bank of Japan may even have to buy exchange-traded funds in support.”

Orders from manufacturers fell 6.4 percent in November from October after a 12.3 percent increase in October due to a decline in orders from manufactures of electronics and steel, data from the Cabinet Office showed on Wednesday.

Service-sector orders rose 2.5 percent, slower than a 4.5 percent increase the previous month. Orders from parcel delivery and logistics companies rose in November.

However, a decline in orders from construction and telecommunications companies dragged on growth in orders from the services sector.

“Core” machinery orders exclude those for ships and from electricity utilities.



Category: Japan

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