Japanese machinery orders rose more than expected in February, supporting economist's predictions that the central bank may increase interest rates from near zero as early as July.
Non-government machinery orders, excluding shipping and utilities, climbed a seasonally adjusted 3.4 percent to 1.09 trillion yen ($9.3 billion) from January, according to a Cabinet Office report released in Tokyo today. Orders from chemical and metal industries increased.
The report suggests capital spending, which grew at its fastest pace in more than a decade last year, will help Japan achieve its longest economic expansion since World War II. The Bank of Japan, whose board ends a two-day meeting tomorrow, is seeking signs that the economy is resilient enough to withstand the first rate increase in almost six years.