Japan's machinery orders down for first time in 2 months

Japan's private-sector machinery orders were down in November for the first time in two months.

The government's Cabinet Office says orders from domestic firms to major machinery makers totaled 838.8 billion yen or about 6.45 billion dollars. That's 8.3 percent less in yen terms from the previous month. The number excludes orders for ships and from electric utilities because they fluctuate widely.

Orders from manufacturers fell 9.3 percent for the third straight month, partly due to a decline in demand for semiconductor-manufacturing equipment. The Cabinet Office views the trend as reflecting an economic slowdown overseas.

Orders from non-manufacturers were down 3 percent, marking the first drop in three months.