Business confidence at major Japanese manufacturers has improved for the sixth straight quarter, the central bank said in a key survey Wednesday.
The Bank of Japan’s quarterly “tankan” survey of business sentiment shows that the main index for large manufacturers stood at 8. Three months ago it hit 1.
The figure represents the percentage of companies saying business conditions are good minus those saying conditions are unfavorable, with 100 representing the best mood and minus 100 the worst.
The result beat Kyodo News agency’s average market forecast of 6.
Companies, however, aren’t so bullish about the future. Big manufacturers predicted that sentiment would fall into negative territory over the next several months.
The mood among big non-manufacturers improved to 2 from minus 5 in June.
The survey helps the central bank guide monetary policy and is a closely watched barometer of the country’s economic health. When the Bank of Japan policy board meets next week, it is expected to consider new steps to rein in a strong yen.
Small- and medium-sized enterprises also reported higher numbers, though their business conditions continued to lag. The confidence index for medium-sized manufacturers rose to 4 from minus 6 three months ago. The small manufacturers’ index stood at minus 14, up from minus 18.
The Bank of Japan surveyed a total of 11,283 companies between Aug. 23 and Sept. 28. The response rate was 98 percent.
Companies are assuming the dollar will average 89.66 yen this fiscal year through March 2011.