TOKYO, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Core private-sector machinery orders in Japan declined in January from a month earlier, the government said in a report on Wednesday.
According to the Cabinet Office, orders in the recording month fell 5.4 percent from the previous month, with the total orders, excluding those for ships and from utilities because of their volatility, coming to 822.3 billion yen (7.4 billion U.S. dollars).
The latest reading follows a 0.3-percent retreat the previous month, the Cabinet Office's data showed.
Machinery orders are a key advance indicator for corporate capital spending and the government uses the data to predict the strength of business spending in a six to nine month period ahead.
A drop in capital expenditure, as is the case here, can dent the economy as it means Japanese companies are producing less machinery to meet falling demands from overseas markets.
Such business investment accounts for roughly 15 percent of Japan's gross domestic product.
The types of machinery included in the monthly government survey comprise engines and turbines, heavy electrical machinery, electronic and communication equipment, industrial machinery, machine tools, railway rolling stock, road vehicles, aircraft, ships, water crafts, as well as sub types in those categories.