TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese manufacturing activity slowed in June as new orders grew at the slowest pace in seven months, a preliminary private survey showed on Friday in a sign of a slight weakening in domestic demand.
The Markit/Nikkei Flash Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell to a seasonally adjusted 52.0 in June from a final 53.1 in May.
The index remained above the 50 threshold that separates expansion from contraction for the 10th consecutive month.
"Slower growth was signaled in June, with both orders and output rising at the weakest rates since late last year amid reports of a slight softening in market conditions," said Paul Smith, senior economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.
"That said, external demand is holding up well, and the sector continues to operate within a solid growth range."
The index for new orders, which includes both domestic and overseas orders, fell to a preliminary 51.3 from a final 53.4 in May to reach the lowest level since November.
The flash index for new export orders fell to 52.5 in June from 53.0 in the previous month.
The drop in the flash PMI index is unlikely to dent growing optimism about Japan's economy.
In recent months, the Bank of Japan has upgraded its overall economic assessment and its view of consumption as rising exports, strong factory output and a tightening labor market support growth.
Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Richard Borsuk