Big Firms’ Biz Sentiment Shows 1st Fall in 4Q

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Cabinet Office is seen in the Kasumigaseki area of Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Business sentiment among major Japanese companies worsened for the first time in four quarters in January-March, with manufacturers hit by higher material and energy prices, a government survey showed on Monday.

The business sentiment index for companies with capital of ¥1 billion or more stood at minus 3.0, against plus 0.7 for the previous quarter, according to the joint survey by the Finance Ministry and the Cabinet Office.

The index represents the percentage of companies seeing their business conditions improve from the previous quarter minus that of firms feeling the opposite.

For large manufacturers, the sentiment index stood at minus 10.5. Sentiment was solid among auto-related makers but deteriorated particularly among chemical and food makers.

For large nonmanufacturers, the index came to plus 0.6, down from the previous quarter but still in positive territory, supported by the services and construction sectors.

The sentiment index stood at minus 4.8 for medium-sized companies, down for the first time in two quarters, and at minus 17.4 for small companies.

Meanwhile, the business outlook index for large companies was plus 0.7 for April-June and plus 5.2 for July-September.

“We are closely monitoring trends among companies, including how they are affected by higher prices,” a Finance Ministry official said.