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TOKYO, May 31(Reuters) - Japanese manufacturing activity rebounded from a two-year low in May and expanded for the first time in three months as firms restored supply chains disrupted by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, a survey showed on Tuesday.
The Markit/JMMA Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to a seasonally adjusted 51.3 in May from 45.7 in April, which was the lowest since April 2009.
The index rose above the 50 threshold that separates expansion from contraction for the first time in three months.
The output component of the PMI index jumped to 51.5 from 35.0 in April, the biggest gain since the data was first compiled in October 2001.
“PMI survey data pointed to a welcome rebound in Japanese manufacturing activity in May, as a sharp easing in supply chain pressures enabled firms to restart production lines following the disruption caused by March’s earthquake and tsunami,” said Alex Hamilton, an economist at Markit.
The index for new export orders, a leading indicator of Japanese exports, rose to 49.2 from 42.3 in the previous month. It was the first rise in new export orders in three months.
The employment index rose to 49.2 in May from 48.5 in April, the first increase in two months. (Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Michael Watson)