June 22, 2009

Japan business sentiment improves

Japanese business sentiment improved from April to June on signs of rising foreign demand but was still in negative territory, the government said Monday.

The index measuring business conditions at companies capitalized at 1 billion yen ($10.4 million) or more stood at minus-22.4 in the April-June quarter, or better than the record low of minus-51.3 in the January-March quarter, said a report by the Cabinet Office and the Finance Ministry, Kyodo news reported.

It was the sixth straight quarter that the industry-wide index has remained negative. The widely watched index, calculated every three months, is the percentage point difference between companies reporting deteriorating business conditions and those reporting improvement.

The report said business sentiment is projected to improve further in coming months but the job environment at large companies is expected to be weak.

In the latest survey, 78.6 percent of the 14,964 companies contacted responded, the report said.