Kayaku factory
Workers are seen at Nippon Kayaku Co.’s factory in Tokyo, Aug. 21, 2015. REUTERS/ISSEI KATO

Japanese manufacturing activity contracted in April at the fastest pace in more than three years and output fell the most in two years, a final survey showed on Monday, after earthquakes halted production in the southern manufacturing hub of Kumamoto.

The Markit/Nikkei Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell to a seasonally adjusted 48.2 in April, which was above the preliminary reading of 48.0 but still below a final 49.1 in March.

The index remained below the 50 threshold that separates contraction from expansion for the second consecutive month and showed activity contracted the most since January 2013.

The output component of the PMI index also fell to 47.8, versus a flash reading of 47.9 a final 49.8 in the previous month to show the fastest contraction since April 2014.

On April 14, the first of several earthquakes struck Kumamoto, which damaged houses, caused landslides and halted production at electronics and car parts factories in the area.

Many companies have resumed production in Kumamoto, and economists say if this trend continues then Japan should be able to quickly shake off the impact on factory output.