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Japan Private Sector Shrinks Most In Nearly 5 Years

Japan's private sector declined in February at the strongest pace since April 2014, driven by the contraction in services output, survey results from IHS Markit showed on Friday.

The au Jibun Bank flash composite output index fell to 47.0 in February from 50.1 in January. A score below 50 indicates contraction in the sector.

The services Purchasing Managers' Index contracted to 46.7 in February from 51.0 in the previous month.The score was the lowest since April 2014. Total new sales fell for the first time since July 2016, mainly due to a slump in new business as the tourism sector was adversely hit by the coronavirus outbreak in China.

The factory PMI declined to 47.6 in February from 48.8 in the preceding month. The latest reading was the worst since December 2012. The new orders sub-index fell sharply and those for output and employment also fell.

"Latest PMI data dash any hopes of a first quarter recovery in Japan and significantly raise the prospect of a technical recession in the world's third largest economy," Joe Hayes, economist at IHS Markit, said.

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