TOKYO – Japanese business sentiment has improved in December compared to data collected for September, reaching its highest level in a decade, according to the quarterly Tankan survey published on Friday by the Bank of Japan.
The business outlook index in key manufacturing sectors such as automobiles or electronics stood at 25 points, up three from the September survey, marking its highest level since December 2006.
The figure also exceeds analysts’ forecasts, according to the BoJ report.
The streak of positive business sentiment also marks its longest since the surveys conducted between December 2012 and March 2014, when it improved for five consecutive quarters.
However, the mood of large non-manufacturing companies remained flat at 23 points.
The sectors with highest business sentiment are machinery and automobiles, thanks to high export demand and yen depreciation against the dollar.
On the other hand, the business outlook’s index worsened in the human resource sector as the world’s third largest economy is currently facing the worst labor shortage ever recorded in 25 years, with an approximately 100 job seekers per every 152 jobs.
Tankan’s business sentiment index reflects the difference between the number of large Japanese companies that believe that the conditions for doing business are positive and the number of those which believe that the outlook is negative.