Japan's machinery orders plunged in April, marking the first decline in two months. The orders are considered a leading indicator of future capital spending.
The Cabinet Office says core orders registered a seasonally adjusted 11% drop from the previous month. That's the fourth biggest decline since statistics in their current form became available in fiscal 2005, according to Japan's (NHK WORLD) radio.
The indicator excludes ships and utilities, which tend to see large fluctuations.
Manufacturers cut back on their orders by more than 13%. That's after chemical and other industries placed large-scale orders in March. The number for non-manufacturers was also down by almost 4%.
Economists at the Cabinet Office say the April plunge was largely because orders cooled off after the surge in March. They are sticking to their basic assessment that machinery orders are showing signs of picking up.