A worker is seen at an assembly line of Honda Motor Co.'s motorcycles. Photo: Reuters / Naomi Tajitsu
A Honda motorcycle assembly line. Japan's manufacturing sector operates under a different model than that followed in much of the West. Photo: Reuters / Naomi Tajitsu

The Nikkei-Markit purchasing managers’ index fell from 52.7 in April to 52.0 in May, a sign that the pace of manufacturing growth is easing. Numbers above 50.0 indicate expansion.

“May’s PMI data signaled a broad-based slowdown in growth of the manufacturing sector, with output, new orders and employment all rising at their slowest rates since last November”, HIS Markit senior economist Paul Smith was quoted by the Financial Times as saying.

“Although growth is being maintained at a decent clip, reports of “wait-and-see” attitudes amongst clients, excess warehouse inventories and recent sharp rises in raw material costs all served to undermine expansion during the month”, Smith added.