Big Japanese manufacturers turned pessimistic about business conditions for the first time since the global financial crisis in the second quarter but expect conditions to recover in coming months, a Bank of Japan survey showed, as the economy gradually emerges from the devastation of the March earthquake and tsunami.
The headline index measuring big manufacturers’ sentiment stood at minus 9 in June, down from plus 6 in March and worse than a median market forecast of minus 6, the central bank’s closely watched tankan quarterly survey showed on Friday.
It was the first time pessimists outnumbered optimists since March 2010, when Japanese firms were still reeling from the financial turmoil triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in late 2008.
Analysts had expected a sharp deterioration in sentiment in the June survey, the first to fully reflect the impact of the March 11 disaster that triggered the world’s worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster 25 years ago.
But big manufacturers expect conditions to improve over the next three months with the index for September seen at plus 2. That compared with a median forecast of plus 3.
The sentiment indexes are derived by subtracting the percentage of respondents who say conditions are poor from those who say they are good. A negative reading means pessimists outnumbered optimists. (Reporting by Leika Kihara and Rie Ishiguro).