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Japan's manufacturing activity slumped further in December 2019: survey

Manufacturing activity in Japan contracted for the eighth straight month in December 2019, with output volumes falling at the fastest rate since March 2019 and new orders declining further, survey data compiled by Jibun Bank Corp. and IHS Markit showed.

The headline Jibun Bank Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index dropped to 48.4 in December 2019 from 48.9 in November, lower than the flash estimate of 48.8. The latest figure is in line with October's reading and the rate of decline recorded was the joint-sharpest for three-and-a-half years, the survey said.

The fourth quarter of 2019 saw the Japanese manufacturing sector's worst quarterly performance since the second quarter of 2016, according to the survey.

Output fell at the second-fastest rate in about three-and-a-half years, while new orders fell for the 12th consecutive month. The drop in sales slowed, while stocks of finished goods depleted for the sixth successive month.

Employment continued to grow, while business confidence remained relatively weak.