Japan’s manufacturers’ business sentiment likely edged higher in the three months to December, a Reuters poll showed on Friday, although the global economic slowdown continues to cloud the outlook. The central bank’s closely watched survey is also seen showing the nation’s service-sector sentiment staying firm, supported by upbeat inbound demand. The Bank of Japan’s “tankan” business survey is expected to show big manufacturers’ confidence index rose to plus 10 in December from plus 9 in September. It would be the third straight quarter of improvement. The non-manufacturers’ sentiment index likely stood at plus 27, unchanged from the September survey, the poll showed. “Among the big manufacturers, business confidence is expected to improve in the auto sector due to progress in production recovery,” said analysts at Daiwa Institute of Research. “The mood in sectors such as retail and accommodation & food services likely rose thanks to gains in consumption by foreign visitors, while labour shortage likely weighed on the construction sector.” Big firms expect to raise capital expenditure by 12.4% in the current fiscal year ending in March 2024, slightly down from 13.6% in the September survey, the poll found. The BOJ will release the data at 8:50 a.m. on Dec. 13 (2350 GMT, Dec. 12). The BOJ will closely watch the tankan figures to gauge the strength of the economy ahead of the central bank’s next policy meeting on Dec. 18-19. BOJ Governor Kazuo Ueda on Thursday told parliament the central bank will face an “even more challenging” economic situation in the new year. Source: Reuters

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