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Japan factories start 2015 on strong note, flash Jan PMI rises to 52.1

Friday, January 23, 2015 - 09:49
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Japanese manufacturers began the new year on a strong note as domestic and overseas orders picked up, a survey showed on Friday, suggesting the economy is shrugging off a slump in consumer spending last year that triggered a recession.

[TOKYO] Japanese manufacturers began the new year on a strong note as domestic and overseas orders picked up, a survey showed on Friday, suggesting the economy is shrugging off a slump in consumer spending last year that triggered a recession.

The Markit/JMMA flash Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to a seasonally adjusted 52.1 in January from a final 52.0 in December.

The index remained above the 50 threshold that separates contraction from expansion for the eighth consecutive month.

The output component of the PMI index edged lower to a preliminary 52.3 from 52.5 in the previous month.

New orders rose to preliminary 53.1 from 52.3 in December. The index for new export orders also rose at a faster clip, to a preliminary 51.5 from a final 51.3 in the previous month.

The final Markit/JMMA PMI for January will be released on Feb. 2.

Japan's economy is expected to grow an annualised 3.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year and an annualised 2.1 per cent this quarter, rebounding from a mild recession after a sales tax increase last April, according to a Reuters poll.

Economists expect growth in consumer spending, exports and capital expenditure to drive growth this year. A decline in oil prices could also help lower fuel costs for Japan and give the economy a further boost.

Manufacturers also hired new staff for the fourth month running, the survey showed.

REUTERS