Confidence among Japan's biggest firms has rebounded for the first time in over a year, a closely watched report by the country's central bank has revealed. Exporters profited from a weaker national currency.
The Bank of Japan's Tankan report on Wednesday showed a reading of 10 among major manufacturers, rising from six in its previous survey.
The quarterly barometer based on a poll of 10,000 companies is the broadest indicator of how Japan's business community is faring, with a positive figure meaning firms are on average optimistic about their future prospects.
The October-December reading marked the first on-quarter improvement since last year's April-June period.
Abenomics on the test bed
The Tankan report showed many companies planned to boost capital spending in the months ahead, although the gain was weak.
Executives keep banking on a weaker yen. In fact, the national currency is now trading at multi-month lows against the greenback, which makes Japanese products cheaper abroad and inflates the value of repatriated profits.
The Bank of Japan's survey is likely to take some pressure off the central bank to launch more easing measures to crank up the economy.
Officials have been looking for ways to deliver a boost to growth as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's spend-for-growth policies appear to falter. Back in 2013, he launched his 'Abenomics' program, a mix of massive monetary easing, government spending and red-tape slashing. But promised reforms have been slow in coming.
hg/jd (AFP, Reuters)