Business sentiment cautious in Japan as virus fears linger

Business sentiment cautious in Japan as virus fears linger

Tokyo (AFP/APP): Japan’s major manufacturers remain cautious about the economy’s trajectory, with business sentiment flat for the quarter as concerns about the pandemic linger, a key survey showed Monday.
Among major non-manufacturers however, there was an improvement in confidence about the world’s third largest economy, offering glimmers of hope.
The Bank of Japan’s Tankan business survey — a quarterly poll of about 10,000 companies — showed a reading of plus 18 for major manufacturers, unchanged from the previous quarter and slightly lower than market consensus of plus 19.
Among large non-manufacturers meanwhile, confidence improved to plus nine from plus two in the previous quarter, the sixth consecutive improvement.
The short-term business sentiment survey reports the difference between the percentage of firms that are upbeat and those that see conditions as unfavourable.
A positive figure means more companies see business conditions as favourable than those that consider them unfavourable. It is considered to be the broadest indicator of how Japan Inc. is faring.
The latest reading comes with concerns over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
For medium-sized manufacturing firms, confidence was unchanged at plus six, while sentiment for small companies improved to minus one from minus three. Japan has seen a smaller virus outbreak than many countries, with fewer than 18,400 deaths despite avoiding harsh lockdowns.

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