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Japanese major manufacturers' sentiment rises for 1st time in 2 quarters

04-02-2011 09:54 BJT

TOKYO, April 1 (Xinhua) -- Business confidence among Japan's largest manufacturers improved slightly in the three months through March from the previous quarter, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) said in a report on Friday.

The quarterly Tankan diffusion index of sentiment at large Japanese manufacturers rose to 6 in March from 5 in December, marking the first rise in two quarters and beating median economists' estimates for a reading of 5.

A positive reading means optimists outnumber pessimists regarding business conditions and the diffusion index gauges the percentage of companies reporting favorable business conditions minus those reporting negative conditions.

The central bank survey also showed that sentiment among major non-manufacturers rose to 3 from 1, again, the first rise in two quarters.

The BOJ noted however that 72 percent of responses came before the March 11 quake and tsunami.

"The post-quake number will paint a very grim picture," said Hiroshi Miyazaki, chief economist at Shinkin Asset Management Co. in Tokyo, adding "this will definitely be a recession. The economy 's trend completely flipped with this earthquake."

The BOJ said that on April 4, it will release a breakdown of pre-quake and post-quake responses, offering an accurate gauge of the level of impact the disaster had on manufacturers' sentiment.

The survey also showed big companies in both the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors plan to increase capital investment by 0.4 percent in fiscal 2011 from the previous year.

On future outlooks, the survey suggested sentiment may decline in the common months, from four points to two points for manufacturers and by four points to minus one point for non- manufacturers.

The BOJ collected responses from 11,101 firms, also including smaller firms.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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