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Japan's machine tool orders fall 36% as automakers hold off

Q4 demand down by sharpest since 2009 on tariff uncertainties

A machine tool factory in Japan: Orders in 2019 fell by the sharpest margin since the global financial crisis. (Photo by Yuki Fukumoto)

TOKYO -- Automakers, machinery builders and other manufacturers slashed investment even more sharply toward the end of 2019, accelerating the trend for a year dominated by worries about slowing global growth and the U.S.-China tariff disputes.

Orders for machine tools came to 89.9 billion yen ($817 million) in December, plunging 33.6% on the year and declining for the 15th straight month, the Japan Machine Tool Builders' Association said Wednesday.

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