Japanese manufacturing activity expanded in October at the fastest pace in nine months as new orders rose, a preliminary survey showed on Monday, suggesting domestic demand could lead to higher economic growth.
The Flash Markit/Nikkei Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to a seasonally adjusted 51.7 in October from a final 50.4 in the previous month.
The index remained above the 50 threshold that separates expansion from contraction for the second month and showed that activity expanded at the fastest since January.
The index for new orders rose to a preliminary 51.3 from 49.6 in the previous month, marking the first expansion in nine months.
The flash index for new export orders rose to 53.1 from a final 51.1 in September, indicating the second consecutive month of growth.
Government data on exports and household spending suggest Japan’s economic growth was subdued in July-September, so the PMI survey could point to an acceleration in growth in October-December.
Japan’s economic growth has been lacklustre for much of this year as consumer spending and exports largely undershot economists’ expectations.
September exports fell 6.9 % from a year earlier, down for a 12th straight month, Ministry of Finance data showed on Monday.
The result compares with the median forecast for a 10.4% fall in a Reuters poll of economists, and follows a 9.6% decline in August.
Imports fell 16.3%, versus the median estimate of a 16.6% fall.
The trade balance swung to a surplus of 498.3 billion yen (US$4.8 billion), versus the median estimate of a 341.8 billion yen surplus.