Japan big manufacturers' confidence weakens

[TOKYO] Business confidence among Japan's biggest manufacturers dropped during the first quarter of the year, a central bank survey showed Friday, as evidence of a slowdown in the world's number three economy piled up.

The Bank of Japan's closely watched Tankan report showed confidence among major manufacturers registered at plus six in March, down from the previous quarter, when it was measured at 12.

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

The latest result was weaker than market expectations of plus eight, and likely to fuel calls that Japanese policymakers expand their stimulus programme.


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