TOKYO, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Japanese manufacturing activity contracted in November at the fastest pace since the record earthquake triggered a nuclear crisis as slowing growth in China, a strong yen and floods at factories in Thailand hurt Japan’s output.
The Markit/JMMA Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell to a seasonally adjusted 49.1 in November from 50.6 in the previous month.
That marked the lowest level since 45.7 in April, one month after the March 11 quake and tsunami struck. It was also the first time in two months that the index had been below the 50 threshold that separates contraction from expansion.
The index for new export orders, a leading indicator of Japanese exports, fell to 46.0 from 47.2 in the previous month.
“Underlying demand weakness reflected persistent yen strength and fewer new order intakes from emerging Asia, with China mentioned in particular,” said Alex Hamilton, an economist at Markit.
“Disruptions emanating from floods in Thailand also played a role in disrupting industry activity over the month, especially with regards to the supply chain.”
The output component of the PMI index fell to 47.7 in November from 52.8 the previous month to reach the lowest level since April.