TOKYO, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Japanese manufacturing activity expanded in December for the first time in two months as output and export orders fell at a slower pace, a survey showed on Friday, in a tentative sign that demand could be stabilising.
The Markit/JMMA Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to a seasonally adjusted 50.2 in December from 49.1 in November.
The index rose above the 50 threshold that separates contraction from expansion for the first time in two months.
“December data indicated a marginal improvement in manufacturing sector operating conditions,” Markit said in a report.
“Both output and new business fell at slower rates, while companies added to their staff numbers for the sixth month in a row.”
The index for new export orders, a leading indicator of Japanese exports, rose to 49.1 — the highest since May — from 46.0 in the previous month.
The output component of the PMI index also rose to 49.6, from 47.7 in November.
The employment index gained to 51.3 in December from 51.2 in the previous month.