TOKYO, March 10 (UPI) -- Machinery orders, a leading indicator of capital spending by companies, fell sharply in Japan in January, the government said Monday.
Core private-sector machinery orders, which exclude orders for the volatile ship and utility industries, were down a seasonally adjusted 13.1 percent in January from the previous month, Kyodo News reported.
It was the first time in four months machinery orders have fallen, reaching 654.4 billion yen ($6.81 billion), the government said. The drop was must more severe than anticipated, Kyodo noted.
Japan's Cabinet Office said machinery orders were "showing signs of moderately picking up, but significantly decreased in January."