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Japan's Nikkei Manufacturing PMI improves in December to 52.6

Japan's Nikkei Manufacturing PMI for December ticked higher to 52.6, compared to the previous reading of 52.4. Median market forecasts were expecting the indicator to remains stuck at 52.4, but the unexpected increase sees support for an improved GDP reading for 2018's final quarter.

Key highlights (via IHS Markit)

The Japanese manufacturing sector finished 2018 on a solid footing, with business conditions improving at a stronger rate. Driving the firmer upturn was a sharper expansion in production, which rose at the strongest rate since last April. New orders also increased at a faster pace, but overall remained relatively muted, while export sales declined on the month. 

Commenting on the Japanese Manufacturing PMI survey data, Joe Hayes, Economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey, said: 

“The final print of the December Manufacturing PMI showed that Japan’s goods-producing economy looks set to contribute to a bounce-back in GDP growth for Q4. Output increased at the strongest rate since April last year, while new order growth also improved. Nonetheless, the survey data provide reason to remain cautious on growth prospects. Most notably, demand pressures were relatively subdued." - Joe Hayes, IHS Markit

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