Beating market expectations of a contraction, Japan's core machinery orders jumped 4.8% in February from the previous month, official figures showed on April 1.
The core data, which exclude volatile demand from power companies and for ships, was significantly better than the 0.5% fall expected by economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires.
The core private-sector machinery orders reached 794 billion yen (US$9.8 billion), following a 3.4% rise in January, according to the Cabinet Office.
"Machinery orders are leaning toward moderate expansion," it said.
The core orders are seen as a leading indicator of corporate capital spending and watched for movements that may reflect the outlook for the broader economy.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012