Japan big manufacturers' confidence sits at multi-year low: BOJ

Honda Motor's scooters are seen in front of an assembly line at Honda's Kumamoto factory in Ozu town, Kumamoto prefecture, Japan, on Sept 13, 2016.
Honda Motor's scooters are seen in front of an assembly line at Honda's Kumamoto factory in Ozu town, Kumamoto prefecture, Japan, on Sept 13, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - Business confidence among Japan's largest manufacturers is at its weakest level since Tokyo introduced measures to kick-start its tepid economy more than three years ago, a central bank survey showed on Monday (Oct 3).

The Bank of Japan's closely watched quarterly Tankan report comes after the economy barely grew in the second quarter and as a string of poor inflation and spending data on Friday underscored the wobbly recovery.

The latest Tankan data missed market forecasts for a slight improvement among major manufacturers.

Sentiment among big manufacturers, a key gauge of Japan Inc's health, has been stuck at its lowest levels since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe kicked off his growth blitz, dubbed Abenomics, in early 2013.

The survey of more than 10,000 companies is the most comprehensive indicator of how Japan is faring, and marks the difference between the percentage of firms that are upbeat and those that see conditions as unfavourable.

The reading for big manufacturers was unchanged at 6, while the level for big non-manufacturers fell to 18 from 19 in the survey.

Among medium-size businesses, manufacturers' confidence improved to 3 from 1, while the reading for non-manufacturers rose to 15 from 14.

Small manufacturers' confidence was -3, less pessimistic than a previous reading of -5, while small non-manufacturers showed a confidence level of 1, compared to zero in the June survey.