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.