Japan's business leaders feeling positive about 2018 economy

Writer: 
ANN News Desk

 

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) - Japan’s top business leaders are feeling upbeat about the prospects for the nation’s economy during the upcoming year, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey.

Japan’s top business leaders are feeling upbeat about the prospects for the nation’s economy during the upcoming year, according to a Yomiuri Shimbun survey.

Of 30 leaders of major companies surveyed, 28 said the economy is currently “recovering moderately” and 26 — nearly 90 percent — predicted the economy will “recover moderately” six months from now. The survey showed that a bright outlook on the economy is sweeping through the business sector.

Four respondents said they think the economy will be at a “standstill” six months from now.

Asked about their predictions for real economic growth in 2018, 27 respondents expected to see solid growth of 1.0 percent to less than 1.5 percent. One business leader forecast growth of 0.0 percent to less than 0.5 percent, and one predicted 0.5 percent to less than 1.0 percent. The government’s growth forecast for fiscal 2018 is 1.8 percent, slightly higher than the predictions put forward by the top executives.

Asked what factors were behind the current economic recovery, the most common answer — given by 14 respondents — was “recovery of investment in equipment and plants.” “Recovery of consumer spending” and “U.S. economic growth” were both suggested by 10 business leaders, who could give multiple answers to this question. 

In response to a question about factors that would spur economic recovery, 20 business honchos mentioned “increased investment in equipment and plants.” This was the most common answer.

However, only six business leaders said their own company would boost equipment and plant investment in fiscal 2018 from fiscal 2017 levels. The survey indicated that many business chiefs are taking a cautious approach to boosting such investment at their own company but predict that the overall Japanese economy will be buoyed by more money being poured into equipment and plants.

Twenty-four respondents, or 80 percent, said they think the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average will peak in a range between 24,000 and 25,000.

Lifting the Japanese economy out of long-standing deflation has become a major issue. According to the survey, 20 respondents predict prices will increase on average “by about 1 percent” in 2018. Not a single business leader expected prices to rise “by about 2 percent” this year.

The survey was conducted through interviews and in writing during December.