TOKYO -- Japan's manufacturing sector returned to expansion territory in April with output as well as new orders falling to a lesser extent.
The Nikkei Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, rose from March's 49.2 to record a three-month high of 50.2 in April, registering above the 50-point line separating expansion from contraction.
New orders placed with Japanese manufacturers have fallen since the beginning of this year in which underlying weakness in demand has led to continued downturns in sales. However, the decline has been losing momentum.
Meanwhile, employment rose at a stronger pace in April. Outlook toward output also improved with business confidence jumping to a five-month high.
"A pickup in the Japan Manufacturing PMI to a three-month high will be a welcome sign that the recent drop in momentum has potentially subsided for now," said Joe Hayes, Economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.
"Given the difficulties faced by firms in semiconductor and automobile-related industries in recent months, it bodes well that anecdotal evidence indicated that stronger optimism was in part driven by more upbeat forecasts for these two key Asian industries," Hayes added.
For more information, visit IHS Markit website.