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Economy in Brief

Japan Machinery Orders Expand
by Robert Brusca  August 11, 2011

Japan’s total machinery orders rose by 5.6% in June after falling by 2.3% in May. Orders are up at a 28% rate over three months for the period following the onset of tis natural disasters. Orders are also up by 10.9% Yr/Yr.

Core orders which exclude big ticket projects are up by 7.7% in June and 3% in May They are rising at a 32% annual rate over three months and are up by 17.7% Yr/Yr.

The slump in the global economy can be seen in the foreign order/domestic order split. Japan’s domestic orders are surging at a 159% annual rate over three months and are up by 22% over 12-months.

Foreign demand is off as orders have dropped by 5.9% in June alone after plunging by 6.6% in May. Over three-months foreign orders are dropping at a 35% annual rate. Foreign orders are off by 3.1% over 12 months.

Japan is not getting any help in its rebuilding efforts from foreign orders. On the face of it, that does not seem to be a problem since domestic orders are so strong. But the domestic rebuilding is focused on construction efforts. Japan could use more support from a more robust foreign sector that would provide better order diversity. Japan traditionally does depend a lot on its ability to export.

The rest of the world will not benefit too much from Japan’s rebuilding since it is literally that and it will be done locally. There will be raw martial shipments like lumber and the like, but most of the heavy lifting will be done at home.

Japan’s orders are an example of how the shift in global demand is already creating a negative impulse. Japan is seeing a drop in foreign orders, the US is seeing export weakness. It looks as though the negative shock is reverberating around the global economy and that means it will reinforce itself. This is disturbing not just for Japan but for prospects for overall world growth.

Japan Machinery Orders
  M/M % SAAR %
SA Jun-11 May-11 Apr-11 3Mo 6Mo 12Mo 12Mo
Total 5.6% -2.3% 3.1% 28.1% 8.2% 10.9% 30.2%
Core Orders* 7.7% 3.0% -3.3% 32.5% 31.4% 17.7% 3.6%
Total Orders
Foreign Demand -5.9% -6.6% -2.1% -45.1% -12.4% -3.1% 76.2%
Domestic demand 21.0% 2.2% 2.6% 159.2% 7.9% 22.5% 7.0%
* Excl ships and electric power
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