A preliminary indicator of Japan’s manufacturing conditions strengthened to two-month highs in April, a sign that export demand was spurring factory activity in the world’s third largest economy.
The Markit/Nikkei final manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) came in at 52.8 in April, up from a final March estimate of 52.4.
PMI readings above 50 point to expansion, whereas a reading below that level indicates contraction. April was the eighth consecutive month Japan’s PMI was above 50.
The flash results are based on roughly 85-90% of total survey responses. Markit will release its final PMI report next month once all the data are collected.
Japanese factories reported faster output and new export growth. Backlogs of work increased at a faster rate, spurring higher output and input prices.
The quantity of purchases also rose at a quicker rate, with managers giving a more optimistic view of the future.
“Driven by firmer external demand, the sector was underpinned by a stronger export performance in April, with new export orders rising at a rate amongst the best
seen in the past three years,” IHS Markit senior economist Paul Smith said in a statement.
According to Markit, the data are consistent with production rising at a quarterly pace of around 2%.