[TOKYO] Growth in Japanese manufacturing activity eased in November and output expanded at a slightly slower pace than initially reported, a survey showed on Monday, suggesting a modest recovery after the economy unexpectedly slipped into recession.
The final Markit/JMMA Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) was 52.0 in November, less than a preliminary reading of 52.1 and lower than a final 52.4 in October.
The index remained above the 50 threshold that separates contraction from expansion for the sixth consecutive month.
The output component of the PMI index was 52.7, less than a preliminary reading of 53.5 but still higher than 51.3 in October. New export orders, seen as key to offsetting stubbornly sluggish domestic demand, rose for the fifth month running but at a markedly slower pace than in October.
Input costs for Japanese goods producers rose at the fastest rate since January, however, as a further depreciation in the yen offset weaker global commodities prices.
The economy slipped into recession in the third quarter as a sales tax increase in April had a larger and more prolonged impact on consumer spending and business investment than expected.
Analysts believe the economy likely resumed expansion in the current quarter, but there are lingering concerns about the strength of the recovery.