Japan’s manufacturing activity contracted at the fastest rate in 30 months in February, according to a business survey released on Tuesday. The au Jibun Bank flash Japan manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) dropped to a seasonally adjusted 47.4 from a final 48.9 in the previous month. The index has been below the 50-level that separates contraction from expansion for four consecutive months, with the largest decline since August 2020’s 47.2. Factory output and new orders decreased for an eighth straight month at a faster rate than in January. Export orders logged the biggest decrease since July 2020 due to weak global demand.
On the other hand, service-sector activity increased for a sixth month with the relaxation of domestic COVID-19 countermeasures. The au Jibun Bank flash services PMI rose to an eight-month-high of 53.6 seasonally adjusted in February. Service providers reported sharper rises in activity and new business, though input costs rose at the fastest rate in eight months. Service operators’ confidence improved, with the business sentiment sub-index rising from a 10-month-low.
Overall, the au Jibun Bank Flash Japan composite PMI stayed at 50.7 in February, in line with last month’s final figure. The gloomy manufacturing index was offset by an improved service PMI.