TOKYO (AP) — A quarterly survey by Japan's central bank shows major Japanese manufacturers are increasingly gloomy, due largely to weakening exports that resulted from antagonisms with China over a territorial dispute.
The Bank of Japan's "tankan" index for the three months that ends in December was minus 12, much worse than expected and a steep drop from the minus 3 reading in the previous quarter.
Sinking exports due to feeble demand in crisis-stricken Europe and anti-Japanese protests in China have reinforced the gloom among leading companies.
Manufacturers anticipate that sentiment will remain negative in coming months, with the index forecast at minus 10. Nonmanufacturers also predicted sentiment would worsen slightly, to plus 4 from the current plus 5.
The Bank of Japan surveyed 10,654 companies and about 99 percent responded.