TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's core machinery orders fell 8.8 percent in February from the previous month, government data showed on Thursday, casting doubt on the strength of capital spending following the fastest gain in nearly a year seen in January.
The fall in core orders, which exclude those of ships and electric power utilities, was worse than a forecast of a 3.0 percent drop by analysts in a Reuters poll.
That followed a 13.4 percent rise in the previous month, which was the quickest gain since March 2013, according to data from the Cabinet Office.
Compared with a year earlier, core orders, a highly volatile data series regarded as an indicator of capital spending in the coming six to nine months, grew 10.8 percent in February, against economists' median estimate for a 17.6 percent rise.
The Cabinet Office cut its assessment on machinery orders, saying that the increasing trend is stalling.
To view full table, click on the Cabinet Office's website:
(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Dominic Lau and Edmund Klamann)
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