TOKYO -- The Nikkei Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, rose to 54.8 in January, highest since February 2014, from 54.0 in December.
A reading above 50 signals an improvement, while one below 50 points to a contraction in activity. In line with stronger business confidence, firms increase input buying and were less cautious over inventory levels.
"New business opportunities increased at the sharpest rate in for years, supporting the quickest rise in output since February 2014," said Joe Hayes, economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.
"Businesses appeared to derive confidence from the robust economic backdrop that official data has depicted, with optimism strengthening to a four-month high," Hayes continued. "In turn, this supported an accelerated rate of job creation."
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