Japan's core private-sector machinery orders, a key gauge of corporate capital spending, fell 3.2% in January from the previous month, the government said on March 11.
The drop in the orders, which exclude particularly volatile demand from power companies and for ships, marked four straight months of decline.
Core machinery orders placed by manufacturers in January plunged 27.4% while orders by the non-manufacturing sector rose 13.5%, the Cabinet Office said. Among manufacturers, orders fell particularly among steelmakers and firms dealing with oil and coal products.
The government however expects orders to pick up in the coming months, anticipating a 4.1% rise for the January-March quarter.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009