Japanese manufacturing activity in December grew at the slowest pace in 21 months as demand for Japanese goods cooled at home and abroad, a survey showed.
The NTC Research/Nomura/JMMA purchasing managers index, which gives an early snapshot of the health of manufacturing, slipped to a seasonally adjusted 53.1 to indicate the weakest rate of growth since March 2005. It was 53.7 last month.
The index, compiled from a string of diffusion indexes and based on responses from more than 350 manufacturers, held above 50 for the 43rd straight month. A reading above 50 suggests an expansion, and a figure below points to a contraction.