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Business trends

Trade war dents Japan's machine tool orders

First drop in two years as Chinese buyers hold off

Machine tool production at a Citizen Machinery plant in Japan's Nagano Prefecture. The U.S.-China trade war is weighing on Chinese demand for Japanese machine tools.

TOKYO -- Orders for Japanese machine tools declined last month for the first time since November 2016 as the trade war sapped demand from China, the industry's biggest market and a vital growth driver.

Orders slid 1.1% year on year to 139.18 billion yen ($1.22 billion) in October, according to preliminary data released Monday by the Japan Machine Tool Builders' Association. A 1.1% increase in domestic orders to 57.35 billion yen was more than offset by a 2.5% drop in overseas demand to 81.83 billion yen.

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