Japan's core machinery orders rose in September for the first time in four months, but companies forecast only modest gains in orders in October-December, a sign the economy's recovery from an an expected recession could be slow.
Core machinery orders, a leading indicator of capital expenditure, rose 7.5 percent in September versus the median estimate for a 3.3 percent increase, and followed a 5.7 percent decline in the previous month.
However, companies forecast orders will rise 2.9 percent in October-December, which is a small rebound from a 10.0 percent decline in July-September. A separate Reuters survey also showed companies do not expect growth to pick up until next year.
Many policymakers are counting on gains in business investment to create new jobs, increase productivity and drive growth, so the machinery orders data suggest the government still faces an urgent task in convincing companies to invest.