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TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese manufacturing activity expanded at a stronger pace in April as export orders surged, a preliminary survey showed on Friday, in a further sign of robust global demand.
The Flash Markit/Nikkei Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to 52.8 in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, from a final 52.4 in the previous month.
The index remained above the 50 threshold that separates expansion from contraction for the eighth consecutive month.
The flash index for new export orders rose to 53.9 from a final 51.9 in the previous month. The output component of the PMI index was a preliminary 53.6, up from 53.0 in March.
"April's PMI data signaled continued healthy growth of
Japans manufacturing sector, and the latest results were
again consistent with production rising at a quarterly rate
of around 2 percent," said Paul Smith, senior economist at IHS
Markit, which compiles the survey.
Companies also hired more workers, but price pressures continue to mount with input costs and output charges rising at stronger rates, Smith noted.
Japan's exports in March rose at the fastest pace in more than two years, government data showed on Thursday, underlining strength in external demand that is helping to offset stubbornly sluggish domestic demand.
Economists expect Japan's exports will continue to rise as global growth gains momentum, but concerns about U.S. President Donald Trump's pledges to adopt more protectionist trade policies are clouding the outlook.
(Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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