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Business trends

Japan's machine tool orders break record in 2017

Producers strike a healthy balance between foreign and domestic demand

Japan's machine tool orders are expected to set a record in 2018 as well.

TOKYO -- Machine tool orders for Japanese producers soared 31.6% in 2017 to 1.64 trillion yen ($14.8 billion), setting a record for the first time in 10 years, on brisk overseas demand and a firm market at home.

That amounts to four times the low of 411.8 billion yen plumbed in 2009, following the global financial crisis. 

Foreign demand in 2017, driven mainly by China, climbed 41.2% to 1.01 trillion yen, topping 1 trillion yen for the first time since 2014, preliminary figures released Monday by the Japan Machine Tool Builders' Association show.

"The Chinese market has awoken with beneficial effects for the world," a source at the association said. "The Japanese market is also strong. A good balance between foreign and domestic demand has emerged."

December orders leaped 48.3% on the year to a single-month record of 165.8 billion yen. Overseas demand grew 55.6% to 102.5 billion yen while domestic orders rose 37.8% to 63.3 billion yen.

December's total marked the 13 straight month of growth and surpassed a record set only the month before.

The association sees 2018 orders edging up to 1.7 trillion yen for a second straight record year.

"Our orders and sales can probably grow this year," said Yoshimaro Hanaki, CEO of Okuma, a big machine tool supplier. "[The association's] forecast is just right."

(Nikkei)

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