Japan: Manufacturing and services PMIs inch up in March
The Jibun Bank Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)—which combines the PMIs of the services and manufacturing sectors—rose to 48.3 in March according to a flash reading, marginally up from February’s final figure of 48.2. As such, the reading remained below the 50-threshold, and therefore indicated the 14th consecutive month of worsening operating conditions.
The services PMI rose to 46.5 in March from 46.3 in February, with new business deteriorating at the slowest pace in five months. On the manufacturing side, the PMI rose to 52.0 in March from February’s 51.4 reading, thus marking the second consecutive month of improving conditions and the highest print since December 2018, as new orders expanded at an over-two-year high rate.
Commenting on this month’s reading, Usamah Bhatti, economist at IHS Markit, reflected:
“Activity at Japanese private sector businesses remained subdued at the end of the first quarter of 2021, as flash PMI data pointed to a sustained deterioration in business activity. […] That said, one positive note was private sector firms in Japan recording the strongest increase in employment levels since January 2020. This came as service providers noted the fastest pace of job creation since May 2019.”