TOKYO (AP) — Japanese core machinery orders fell 7.6 percent in September, the second straight month of decline, the government said Thursday, suggesting a slowdown in corporate investment that may indicate slower economic growth.
The figure was much worse than the 0.6 percent decline from August expected by economists surveyed by Dow Jones and Nikkei.
Core orders plunged 7.7 percent in August from July after a 17.0 percent jump in July from June — the sharpest rise in nearly four years.
Machinery orders are widely regarded as a leading indicator of corporate capital investment, which accounts for about 15 percent of Japan's gross domestic product.
Unadjusted core orders in September slipped 7 percent from the same month a year ago.
The July-to-September figure, meanwhile, showed a 2.5 percent rise from the previous quarter. Japanese companies still expect core orders to increase 3.1 percent for the October-to-December period, the government said.
Core orders exclude those from electric power companies and those for ships, which are often a source of volatility in the overall data due to their large sizes.