TOKYO, April 12 (Reuters) - Japan's core machinery orders rose 1.5 percent in February from the previous month, government data showed on Wednesday, underscoring a gradual pick-up in capital expenditure.
The rise in the core orders, a highly volatile data series regarded as an indicator of capital spending in the coming six to nine months, was below the 2.7 percent gain expected by economists in a Reuters poll.
It followed a 3.2 percent decline in January, the Cabinet Office data showed.
Compared with a year earlier, core orders, which exclude ships and orders from the electric power utilities, grew 5.6 percent in February, after an 8.2 percent slide in the previous month.
To view full table, click on the Cabinet Office website: http://www.esri.cao.go.jp/en/stat/juchu/1702juchu-e.html (Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim)