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Failed public works tenders rising amid labor shortages in Japan

A Kyodo News survey has found that the proportion of failed public works tenders in Japan more than doubled last year due to labor shortages in the construction sector. The survey showed that failed public works tenders accounted for 7.8 percent of the total sponsored by prefectural governments between April and December, compared with the usual level of 2 to 3 percent. Failed tenders occur when there is an absence of bidders, all bid prices exceed preset limits or all bids fall below preset minimum levels.

Oil prices down in Asian trade

Oil prices turned lower in Asian trade Wednesday as investors stood on the sidelines with few fresh leads, but retained support following upbeat global economic data released a day earlier, analysts said. New York's West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for May delivery eased 35 cents to $99.39 a barrel in afternoon trade and Brent North Sea crude for May was down 11 cents at $105.51.

Asian shares climb on strong manufacturing reports

Asian markets enjoyed a healthy rally on Wednesday following positive manufacturing data from the United States and Europe, while Tokyo was also boosted as the dollar pushed towards the 104-yen level. Traders were given a strong lead from New York, where the S&P 500 closed at another record high, while attention turns to the release later in the week of a closely watched US jobs report. Tokyo climbed 1.48 percent by the break, Hong Kong added 0.15 percent, Sydney was up 0.12 percent, Shanghai was 0.42 percent higher and Seoul put on 0.24 percent.

Asia's manufacturing powers stutter, stir talk of policy support

By Adam Rose and Leika Kihara BEIJING/TOKYO (Reuters) - Asia's major economies finished the first quarter on a weak note with manufacturing surveys in China and Japan fueling expectations that policymakers will be forced to act in coming months to prop up faltering growth. In China, the final Markit/HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) gauge of factory activity, fell to an eight-month low of 48.0 in March. It has remained below the 50 level, which indicates contraction, since January.

Growth in German manufacturing sector slows in March: PMI

BERLIN (Reuters) - Growth in Germany's manufacturing sector slowed in March, a survey showed on Tuesday, as output, new orders and export orders in Europe's largest economy all rose at weaker rates than a month earlier. Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the German manufacturing sector, which accounts for about a fifth of the economy, fell to 53.7 in March from 54.8 in February, down one tick from a flash reading of 53.8.

Euro zone factory expansion eases despite price cutting

LONDON (Reuters) - Growth among euro zone factories cooled as expected last month but with output again rising across the board the bloc's economic recovery appears more entrenched, a business survey showed on Tuesday. Worryingly for policymakers though, Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) also highlighted that firms have returned to cutting prices to drum up business.

RBC: purchasing managers index shows uptick in March, PMI highest since December

TORONTO - The RBC Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index registered 53.3 in March, the 12th consecutive month that the PMI has indicated expansion. RBC says there was a solid improvement in business conditions, especially with exports, but producers also experienced higher costs due to a weaker Canadian dollar. The March reading is up from 52.9 in the previous month and the highest since December. A reading above 50.0 indicates an expansion in the Canadian manufacturing sector while readings below that level indicate the sector is declining.

Major economies end first-quarter on weaker note

By Jonathan Cable and Adam Rose LONDON/BEIJING (Reuters) - Major economies in Asia and Europe finished the first quarter on a weaker note, with key manufacturing surveys fuelling expectations policymakers may be forced to act in coming months to prop up faltering growth. Factories across Europe eased back on the throttle in March while China's vast manufacturing industry contracted for the third month, surveys showed, although a similar poll due later on Tuesday from the United States is expected to show a pick-up.

Japan factory output slides, outlook clouded by sales tax hike

By Tetsushi Kajimoto and Stanley White TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's factory output unexpectedly fell in February at the fastest pace in eight months in a possible sign that the benefits from last-minute demand before an impending sales tax hike may have run their course. The data adds to growing concerns of a stumble in the economy, and comes on the heels of a separate survey showing manufacturing activity expanded at a slower pace in March.

Japan March manufacturing PMI slows for second month, snowstorms blamed

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese manufacturing activity expanded at a slower pace in March, a survey showed on Monday, pulling back further from an eight-year high set in January as heavy snow in some areas curbed production. The Markit/JMMA Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell to a seasonally adjusted 53.9 in March from 55.5 in February. The index remained above the 50 threshold that separates expansion from contraction for a 13th consecutive month but showed that growth slowed for a second straight month.
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