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Pandemic drives Japan’s machine tool orders to lowest level in 10 years

14 May 2020 02:13 PM

Initial data for April released today shows that Japanese machinery tool orders fell to their lowest level in more than a decade, indicating that the coronavirus pandemic is causing heavy losses in the economy.

The data is the latest in a series of grim numbers that reinforce views that the world's third largest economy is slipping into a deep recession.

Initial estimates from the Japan Machine Tool Building Association (JMTBA) shows machine tool orders falling by 48.3% in April compared to the previous year.

A spokesman for JMTBA told Reuters that total orders, which are a major indicator of spending on factory equipment, have reached the lowest level since January 2010. This is largely due to domestic demand which fell 51.4% from the previous year to the lowest level in more than seven years, compared to the previous month’s 27.5% decrease in orders.

A Reuters poll shows that the Japanese economy is likely to contract for the second consecutive quarter in the first three months of this year, meeting the technical definition of a recession. Many analysts believe it will contract at a more severe rate this quarter.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to cancel the state of emergency across much of the country later today.

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