Japan manufacturers' sentiment up for fourth month
TOKYO (REUTERS) - Confidence among Japanese manufacturers improved for a fourth straight month in March and should soon turn positive, a Reuters poll showed, more signs a weaker yen and the government's stimulus plans are helping foster an upturn in the economy.
Companies said the yen, which hit a 3-1/2 year low against the US dollar this month, had helped boost morale, but they were worried about rising costs of imported fuel and other raw materials, and said the recovery in demand had been so far underwhelming.
The Reuters monthly poll, which closely correlates with the Bank of Japan's (BOJ) key quarterly tankan survey, pointed to a marked improvement in the BOJ tankan due on April 1, after it had worsened over the second half of last year.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who won power in December, has pushed his "Abenomics" policy mix of monetary and fiscal stimulus to end nearly two decades of stagnation and deflation.