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Japan construction falls 28%

Japan’s top 50 construction firms saw orders fall 28 per cent in January as the strong yen and weak global economy hit the country’s fragile built environment recovery

The companies recorded orders of 745billion Yen (£5.75billion) in the first month of this year, according to official figures released this week.

This was down from £1.03trillionn Yen in December 2011, although it represented a 25 per cent rise from January 2011.

The year-on-year increase in orders was boosted heavily by central government spending. National public sector work was up 74 per cent on January 2011, while local public sector bodies spent 20 per cent less than a year earlier.

Private sector spending with the top 50 contractors was up 22.6 per cent year-on-year.

Parts of Japan require major rebuilding following the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 2011.

But the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said the country’s economic recovery since the earthquake had proved to be short-lived.

‘Economic activity has lost momentum mainly as a result of weak external demand, the strength of the yen, and Thailand’s flooding,’ the institution said in a report.

‘As the supply-chain disruptions gradually ease in Thailand, Japan’s exports are likely to regain their strength in the first half of 2012 despite continuing concerns over the strengthening of the yen and the challenging global environment.’

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