Japan March core machinery orders rise 2.9%

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's core machinery orders increased 2.9 per cent in March from the previous month, rising for the first time in two months, the Cabinet Office said on Monday, in a sign of a pick-up in business investment.

The rise in core orders, a highly volatile data series regarded as an indicator of capital spending in the coming six to nine months, compared with the median estimate of a 1.8 per cent increase in a Reuters poll of economists.

It followed a revised 1.4 per cent drop in February.

Companies surveyed by the Cabinet Office forecast that core orders, which exclude those of ships and electric power utilities, will fall 7.4 per cent in the current quarter.

In January-March, core orders rose 6.3 per cent from the prior three months.

Compared with a year earlier, core orders in March rose 2.6 per cent, versus a 7.2 per cent decline forecast by economists.

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