The services sector in Japan swung into expansion territory in April, the latest survey from Jibun Bank revealed on Monday with a services PMI score of 50.7.
That’s up from 49.4 in March and it moves above the boom-or-bust line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.
While the lifting of remaining restrictions aided the recovery in activity, stronger growth was held back by uncertainty linked to the Ukraine war, however. Total new business, meanwhile, fell for the third time in four months in April, albeit only marginally.
Service providers commonly attributed this to weaker domestic orders amid concerns about the outbreak of war and potential spill-over effects of rising COVID-19 cases in China. Growth in markets outside Asia however, contributed to the first rise in foreign demand for the first time since last December, and at the quickest rate for two-and-a-half years.
The survey also showed that the composite index improved to 51.1 in April from 50.3 in March.
The positive reading was the second in successive months and the strongest recorded since last December. Services firms reported a renewed rise in activity, while manufacturers signaled an unchanged, moderate rate of expansion.
Aggregate new orders stagnated in April, however, amid a renewed fall at service providers and softer growth at manufacturers. As a result, weaker new business inflows eased pressure on private sector capacity and allowed firms to work through outstanding business which fell for the third time in four months.