Japan’s biggest manufacturers say current business conditions are at the worst in nearly three years, the latest indication the nation’s export-dependent economy is taking a battering in the current quarter. The Finance Ministry’s quarterly business survey, released on Tuesday, showed a reading of minus 7.3 for conditions among Japan’s largest manufacturers, the worst result since the
second quarter of 2016.
The survey also showed sentiment among medium-sized manufacturers was the poorest in nearly five years, while that of small manufacturers was the worst in six years.
The readings are the latest in a raft of data pointing to a weak start to 2019 for Japan as China’s slowdown, US trade protectionism and softness in tech demand push down on global growth. Japan’s exports and factory output logged deeper falls in January, while machine tool orders continued their plunge in February.
Still, the survey showed that not all firms are fretting yet. Large non-manufacturers had a positive view of conditions.