Business sentiment at large Japanese companies worsened in the three months through March from the previous quarter, and is likely to remain fragile in the coming months, a government survey showed Thursday.
The confidence index covering firms capitalized at 1 billion yen or more came to 1.9 in the first quarter of 2015, down from 5.0 during the October-December period, the joint survey by the Finance Ministry and Cabinet Office showed.
Among firms feeling less confident, a company in the food industry blamed a weakening yen for rising import costs. A mining firm attributed its slumping profits to a drop in crude oil prices.
The survey also indicates volatile corporate sentiment for the next two quarters, with the index forecasting 1.0 in the three months through June and then rebounding to 7.8 in the following quarter.
The outlook reflects a delicate stage faced by Japan’s economy, which posted a rebound in the quarter ending December from two straight quarters of contraction following a 3-percentage-point consumption tax increase last April.
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