Output up but sentiment downbeat - Japan's latest PMI data gives hope for a recovery reinvigoration

Oliver Gill
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Taro Aso serves as Japanese Minister of Finance as well as Deputy Prime Minister (Source: Getty)

Japan's manufacturing sector was given a boost as output expanded for the first time since February although PMI sentiment remained subdued.

The Flash Japan Manufacturing Output Index for August rose to 50.6 from 49.4 in July but the manufacturing PMI remained below the bell-weather 50 mark at 49.6 – up from 49.3 in July.

“Japan’s manufacturing sector edged closer to stabilisation in August, but the latest batch of PMI data gave a mixed picture overall.

"Encouragingly, output expanded for the first time in six months (albeit marginally), while companies also saw softer reductions in total new work and export sales," said Annabel Fiddes of IHS Markit.

Read more: Japanese economy grinds to a halt in second quarter

Other than output many of the other markers decreased albeit at a slower rate with the exception of output prices, which were decreasing at a faster rate.

"Relatively weak client demand alongside a strong yen prompted firms to cut their selling prices at the sharpest rate since October 2012 as part of efforts to attract new business,” said Fiddes.

Also worrying was the fact that employment sentiment had changed direction and now was decreasing. Fiddes said that this was the first drop since September.

Japan relapsed from economic recovery earlier this year as a strengthening yen hit exports and consumer spending slowed.

Earlier this month, the government announced a 13.5 trillion yen (£103bn) of fiscal measures in the hoping to head-off the stall and sustain a moderate recovery.