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Japan’s manufacturing sector grew at a slightly slower pace in December, survey results from IHS Markit showed on Tuesday.

The au Jibun Bank manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 54.3 in December from 54.5 in November. A reading above 50.0 indicates expansion.

The lower reading of the headline index was partly the result of a softer rise in output levels. New orders also rose at a softer pace at the end of 2021.

Employment increased for the ninth straight month in December and the rate of job creation was the fastest recorded since April 2018.

In response to ongoing supply chain disruption, buying activity rose at the sharpest pace since May.

On the price front, the survey showed that input prices rose for the nineteenth month running but the rate of inflation softened from November. Meanwhile, output prices increased for the thirteenth consecutive month, though the pace of inflation was the slowest since September.

Business confidence regarding activity over the coming year eased in December. The degree of positive sentiment was the weakest since August.

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