Japan investors' keen on shares despite economic woes: Goldman poll

[TOKYO] Japanese retail investors'interest in domestic stocks has risen even as they have become more pessimistic on Japan's economic growth outlook this year, a Goldman Sachs Asset Management survey showed on Thursday.

Growth expectations did pick up after the Bank of Japan's surprise easing last month, according to additional responses sought for the survey in early November.

The annual survey by the asset arm of Goldman Sachs Group found that 62 per cent of respondents expected Japan's economy to post positive growth over the next 12 months, down from 69 per cent in last year's survey.

But that figure was up from the 54 per cent initially compiled in October, before the BOJ unveiled additional quantitative stimulus steps.

The latest survey showed that the percentage of respondents who expected negative growth in the coming 12 months shrunk to 10.4 per cent from 14.4 per cent before the BOJ easing, but was still well above last year's 7.7 per cent.

The survey revealed that 75 per cent of respondents most preferred to buy domestic stocks, up from 70 per cent in October and 72 percent a year ago, while those who wanted to buy real estate investment trusts (REITs) rose to 30 percent from 24 per cent in both October and last year.

The number of respondents who preferred yen deposits slipped to 49 per cent, from 58 per cent in October and 60 per cent last year. Some 80 per cent of respondents expected the yen to either remain near 115 yen to the dollar or decline over the next 12 months, compared to 70 per cent in October who believed the yen would stay near 110. A year ago, 75 per cent said they expected the yen to remain near 100.

The survey was conducted by Macromill on Oct 10-11 and included 1,000 individual investors from households with more than 30 million yen (US$253,850) in financial assets. The same investors were polled again on Nov 6-10, and there were 972 valid responses.

The poll results do not reflect Monday's data showing the world's third-biggest economy unexpectedly slipped into recession in the July-September quarter, as April's sales tax hike hit consumption harder than expected.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday that he would call an early election to seek a fresh mandate for his economic policies, and will postpone an unpopular further increase in the sales tax.


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