05/14/18: The Japan Machine Tool Builders’ Association reported today that orders for machine tools from the country’s manufacturing companies rose at a slower rate for the third consecutive month during April, increasing by 22%, as compared to the same month a year ago, following a 28.1% and 39.5% year-over-year increase during the two prior months, respectively. That’s the slowest rate in increase in the country’s orders for machine tools since February 2017.


The recent slowing in Japanese manufacturers’ orders for machine tools suggest that manufacturing activity in Japan is in the process of peaking, if it hasn’t already peaked. Such a development would bode poorly for the near-term future direction of Japan’s economy, as well as Japanese stock prices, as the country’s economy and publicly-traded stocks have historically moved in the same direction as economic activity in the country’s manufacturing sector.