TOKYO, Japanese manufacturing activity expanded in March at a slightly slower pace than the previous month as growth in new export orders and output slowed, a revised survey showed on Monday.
The Final Markit/Nikkei Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell to 52.4 in March on a seasonally adjusted basis from a final 53.3 in the previous month, and just below the flash reading for last month at 52.6.
It pointed to the slowest growth in three months even though the index remained above the 50 threshold that separates expansion from contraction for the seventh consecutive month.
Final new export orders eased to 51.9 from a preliminary 52.7 and from a final 54.3 in February.
The overall thrust of the PMI numbers suggest Japan's economy recovery remains on a modest recovery path. Data last month showed a strong surge in February exports, backing signs that an uptick in overseas demand continues to aid momentum in the trade-reliant economy.
The final reading for output was 53.0, versus the flash reading of 53.4 and below the 54.1 seen in February, although it still showed expansion for the eighth consecutive month.
Domestic demand has remained tepid for much of the past year, and the PMI showed output prices were flat from February, suggesting the Bank of Japan continues to face headwinds as it tries to get inflation to its 2 percent target.
(Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)