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TOKYO, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Japanese manufacturing activity was unchanged in February from the previous month in a sign that a rapid recovery in the sector is levelling off, a survey showed on Friday.
The Nomura/JMMA Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) was 52.5 in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, unchanged from January.
The index remained above the 50 threshold that separates contraction from expansion for the eighth consecutive month.
“Although the rapid rise of the index from February through to September in 2009 has abated, it still indicates strong production activity in Japan,” said Minoru Nogimori, an economist at Nomura Securities.
“But we expect the strength of the yen ... gradually to have a negative impact on exports and that growth of exports will slow in the near future.”
The yen JPY= is trading around 90 to the dollar, which is stronger than the break-even rate of 92.90 for Japanese exporters, Nogimori added.
The new export orders index, a leading indicator of Japanese exports, rose to 55.2 in February, its highest since May 2004.
The output component of the PMI index declined for the second consecutive month to 55.6 from 56.7 in January. (Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Joseph Radford)