TOKYO Japan's leading capital spending indicator was expected to show its first fall for three months in February after a surprise one-off factor jump in January, a Reuters poll found.
Core machinery orders, a highly volatile data series regarded as a useful leading indicator of capital spending in the coming six to nine months, was expected to fall 12.4 percent in February from the previous month, the poll of 18 economists found.
Core machinery orders rose 15.0 percent in January but were inflated by large orders from the steel industry. Excluding this factor, economists said, orders were flat versus the previous month.
"Corporations' willingness to undertake capital spending has not especially deteriorated at the moment. But there is a downside risk as corporate earnings are worsening rapidly," said a survey respondent from Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.
The poll found that core orders, which exclude those of ships and electrical equipment, were expected to dip 2.7 percent in February from a year earlier after an 8.4 percent gain in the previous month.
The Cabinet Office will release the core orders at 8:50 a.m. on Monday. (Sunday 2350 GMT)
The corporate goods price index (CGPI), which measures the price companies charge each other for goods and services, was seen falling 3.5 percent in March from a year ago, the poll showed.
That would be the 12th straight monthly fall, partly because the rising yen exchange rate pushed down import costs.
The Bank of Japan will announce the CGPI data at 8:50 a.m. on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Eric Meijer)
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