Growth in domestic manufacturing sector slowed to a five-month low in March. According to the Nikkei Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) survey, growth in manufacturing activity continued at a low pace of 51 in March, down from 52.1 in the previous month of February. Goods manufacturers raised their output for the eighth successive month during March.
However, the degree to which output rose was modest and the weakest since October. Also, due to spare operating capacity, firms reduced their payroll numbers for the first time in eight months, albeit at a fractional pace. Whatever higher production occurred is mainly linked to new order growth and favourable demand conditions, the survey pointed out.
Growth was reported across all three broad market groups, led by consumption goods. New business placed at manufacturing companies rose for the fifth consecutive month during March. Where an increase was registered, firms linked this to improvements in market demand from both domestic and international markets.