March 18, 2022
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s big manufacturers’ business mood likely turned less optimistic in the first quarter, as firms struggled with supply disruptions and surging energy prices after Russia launched its war in Ukraine, a Reuters poll showed.
Other data next week is expected to show core consumer prices in Tokyo likely rose at the fastest year-on-year rate in over two years in March due to rising electricity and gas costs, analysts said in the poll.
The BOJ’s closely-watched “tankan” survey is likely to show the headline index for big manufacturers’ sentiment slipped to plus 12 in April from plus 18 in the previous three months, according to analysts polled by Reuters.
“Companies saw a rise in costs due to surging commodity prices and a weak yen, while a parts shortage caused car production cuts, pushing down business conditions,” said analysts at Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting.
The data would not bode well for the Bank of Japan (BOJ), which warned of risks to a fragile economic recovery from the Ukraine crisis at its March policy meeting, where it maintained its massive stimulus on Friday.
Confidence among big non-manufacturers also likely waned, but avoided slipping into net pessimism, coming in at plus 5, down from plus 9 in December, the poll showed.
Big manufacturers expected conditions to weaken further in three months, with the reading dropping to plus 10, in a sign of growing uncertainty in the corporate outlook, the poll showed, though large non-manufacturers expected an improvement to plus 8.
The tankan is also expected to show big firms will likely raise their capital spending plans by 4.4% for the current fiscal year, less than half than the 9.3% increase estimated in the previous survey, the poll showed.
The BOJ will announce the tankan quarterly survey results on April 1 at 8:50 a.m. local time (March 31 at 2350 GMT).
Separate data due out on March 24 is expected to show Tokyo core consumer prices, which exclude fresh food, would rise 0.7% in March from a year earlier, marking the fastest increase since January 2020, the poll found.
(Reporting by Daniel Leussink; Editing by Kim Coghill)