[TOKYO] Growth in Japanese manufacturing activity picked up slightly in December and output grew at the fastest pace since September, a survey showed on Tuesday, suggesting the economy is recovering from a recession in the third quarter.
The Markit/JMMA flash Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to a seasonally adjusted 52.1 in December from a final 52.0 in November.
The index remained above the 50 threshold that separates contraction from expansion for the seventh consecutive month.
The output component of the PMI index rose to a preliminary 53.3 from 52.7 in the previous month.
New orders and new export orders both rose but at a slower rate. The index for new export orders fell to a preliminary 50.3 from a final 51.8 in the previous month.
The pace of job creation accelerated to the fastest since April.
The final Markit/JMMA PMI for December will be released on Jan 5.
The economy unexpectedly slipped into a recession in the third quarter, largely due to the hit to consumption from a sales tax increase in April. Since then, signs of recovery have been mixed, with exports rebounding but consumer mood slumping.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's landslide election win on Sunday gave him a fresh mandate to pursue his 'Abenomics' policies comprising massive monetary and fiscal expansion, and structural reforms. However, his strategy to end 15 years of deflation and drive sustainable growth has had only modest success so far, helping to boost share prices and drive down the yen.