Japan's core machinery orders, a leading indicator of capital expenditure, plunged 15.7% on month in December, with the fall far greater than expectations for a drop of 4.1%.
On year, orders +6.7% vs consensus of +17.6%.
Moreover, companies have predicted that core orders will drop 2.9% in January-March, which would be the first decline in four quarters.
"Today’s data on machinery cast some doubts on whether the fledgling recovery in business investment will continue," says economist Marcel Thieliant. The government has targeted increased capex as an important element in Japan's battle to end deflation.
However, it's worth noting that the data is volatile and the big drop followed a gain in November.
The USD-JPY is -0.2% at ¥102.46, while the Nikkei is +0.6%.