Bank survey shows Japan’s businesses turning pessimistic

Apr 2, 2023, 8:26 PM

A person walks in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securiti...

A person walks in front of an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index at a securities firm Friday, March 31, 2023, in Tokyo. Asian stocks followed Wall Street higher Friday ahead of a United States inflation update that traders hope will prompt the Federal Reserve to ease plans for more interest rate hikes. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

TOKYO (AP) — Business sentiment among big Japanese manufacturers worsened in the first quarter of this year in the fifth straight decline, according to a central bank survey released Monday.

The headline measure in the Bank of Japan quarterly survey called “tankan” found such sentiments stood at plus 1, down from plus 7 in December. It’s the worst quarterly result since December 2020.

Sentiments among major non-manufacturers rose one point to plus 20, its the fourth straight quarter of improvement.

The Japanese economy has tended to stagnate in recent years, with slow wage increases, and has recently been hit by inflationary pressures, even as some parts of the nation’s economy continue to experince deflation, the opposite trend in which prices continually decrease.

Uncertainty about global growth is weighing on the export-reliant country. The recent turmoil over the U.S. banking sector is adding to such woes, just at a time when Russia’s war in Ukraine has sent energy prices soaring. Japan imports almost all its oil.

The weakening yen boosts the value of overseas earnings by exporters like Toyota and Nintendo, but is proving to be a challenge for rising energy costs.

For the tankan’s projection of sentiments three months later, large manufacturers are expecting an improvement of 2 points at plus 3.

What the Bank of Japan might do on interest rates is being closely watched. The central bank has kept interest rates at zero or in minus territory for years to wrest Japan out of its economic doldrums.

The key interest rate is now at minus 0.1%. The BOJ is targeting stable price rises of 2%.

The new bank governor, Kazuo Ueda, whose nomination received parliamentary approval last month, is set to take office April 9, taking over from Haruhiko Kuroda, Bank of Japan governor for a decade.

Ueda has not indicated he will depart from his predecessor’s positions. But he hails from an academic background, the first such governor in postwar Japan. Most previous governors had held positions in the central bank itself or in Finance Ministry.

Hopes are high Ueda will be able to lead Japan in a steady exit from “Abenomics,” the supereasy monetary policies championed by late Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is promising to lift people’s incomes and tackle the nation’s shrinking birth rate. He is also seeking to boost defense spending and to restart nuclear power plants to deal with the energy crunch.

Uncertainties like the war in Ukraine and the shortage of computer chips, a vestige of the lockdowns and supply chain troubles from the coronavirus pandemic, have sorely hurt Japan. The nation also needs to nurture new areas of growth to keep up with global competition.

KSL 5 TV Live


Brokers look over the view as they tour the Worthington Residences in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, ...

Carter Williams,

Salt Lake City’s newest apartment tower intentionally sticks out in the city

The tallest building east of Salt Lake City's central downtown district and the tallest rental apartment high-rise on the market right officially opened.

39 minutes ago

The Java Espress Beverage Company sign in Clearfield, Utah....

Lauren Steinbrecher

Clearfield soda shop breaks a world record, with the help of its customers

A Clearfield drink shop wants the world to know that Utah's soda game reigns supreme by breaking a Guinness World Record on Saturday. But they need your help.

1 day ago

A Redfin sign listing a Utah home for sale....

Daniel Woodruff

Utah’s median home price rises to $500k despite high mortgage rates

Even with high mortgage rates, Utah's home prices are still going up, as the median price for a home in the state is $500,000.

2 days ago

Matt Gephardt speaking to Thelissa Mead about Hyundai not responding to her claims and getting her ...

Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt helps Utah Hyundai owner seeking reimbursement for overestimated fuel economy

A major automaker was accused of saying their cars get better mileage than they really do, And they promised to pay their customers back. But when one Utah customer wasn't, she decided to Get Gephardt.

2 days ago

A grid with still pictures from nine films...

Larry D. Curtis

Sundance offers free film festival screenings to Utah audiences in July

Many associate the Sundance Film Festival with snowy streets in the annual winter film festival, but Utahns will have a chance to see free screenings, including outdoors, in July.

3 days ago

A new two-story liquor store is pictured in Salt Lake City...

Heather Peterson, KSLNewsRadio

Two-story liquor store opens in SLC

A new liquor store in downtown Salt Lake opened Monday. The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services said it's projected to help the city's economy

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Bank survey shows Japan’s businesses turning pessimistic