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Japan's February final manufacturing PMI 51.6 vs 52.2 in January

[TOKYO] Japanese manufacturing activity expanded at a slightly slower clip in February domestic orders lost some steam, a survey showed on Monday, but stronger export demand from overseas suggest the manufacturing sector will continue to expand.

The final Markit/JMMA Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) was 51.6 in February, slightly above a preliminary reading of 51.5 but below 52.2 in January.

It remained above the 50 threshold that separates contraction from expansion for the ninth consecutive month.

The output component of the PMI index was 53.5, more than a preliminary reading of 52.7.

New export orders rose for the eighth straight month and at a faster pace compared to January.

Separate data last week from the government showed factory output jumped at the fastest pace in nearly four years in January as companies ramped up spending at home and won more orders in emerging markets, suggesting that exports will keep the economy on track for a moderate recovery.

But Japanese households cut spending more than expected and retail sales fell for the first time in seven months in January, other data showed, a sign the central bank's radical stimulus has yet to convince consumers that inflation will take hold.

Japan's economy emerged from recession in the fourth quarter of last year, though the rebound was milder than expected. It is expected to grow moderately this year as exports pick up and consumer spending stabilises after a sales tax increase last April.