TOKYO -- The Nikkei Flash Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, slowed to 52.6 in March from 53.3 in February.
A reading above 50 signals an improvement, while one below 50 points to a contraction in activity. The latest PMI recorded the above-50 level for the seventh consecutive month.
"Although signaling a slower rate of expansion during March, the latest PMI data again point to a Japanese manufacturing economy expanding at a decent clip," said Paul Smith, senior economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.
"New order books remain in solid growth territory, with gains seemingly supported by the weaker yen," the economist said. "However, this comes at the cost of ongoing marked rises in purchase costs: input price inflation remained close to a two-year high in March."
The Flash PMI is based on around 85% of total PMI survey responses. The final PMI for March will be published on April 3.
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