TOKYO, Dec 3 (Reuters) – Japanese manufacturing activity expanded in November at the slowest pace in more than a year as growth in new orders slowed, a revised survey showed on Monday in a worrying sign that economic growth may be subdued in the fourth quarter.
The final Markit/Nikkei Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was 52.2 on a seasonally adjusted basis, up from a flash reading of 51.8 but below October’s final 52.9.
The index remained above the 50 threshold that separates contraction from expansion for the 27th consecutive month but reached the lowest level since August 2017, when it also was 52.2.
“The underlying picture remains subdued, with momentum tilting towards a slowdown,” said Joe Hayes, economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.
“Subdued sales performances reflected fragile conditions both domestically and abroad. According to firms, weak demand from China and parts of Europe hampered export growth.”
Japan’s economy, the world’s third largest, shrank more than expected in the third quarter, hit by natural disasters and sluggish exports.
While the economy is expected by many to return to growth this quarter as effects of the disasters fade, slowing global demand and the U.S.-China trade war cloud the outlook for export-reliant Japan.
For November, the PMI’s final index for new orders was 50.9, compared with the preliminary reading of 49.6 and a final 52.6 in the previous month.
The index for export orders was a final 50.8 for last month, unchanged from the flash reading and below a final 51.1 in October.
Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Richard Borsuk
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