- Sales and profitability reported higher
- Firms bullish on their approach to future growth
- Respondents want more competitive economy
Foreign firms in Japan are experiencing success and are optimistic that economic considerations will allow this to continue, according to the latest Foreign Chambers in Japan Business Confidence Survey.
Conducted on 14–24 April, the poll is considered an important barometer of foreign business in Japan. Some 2,000 firms that are members of 15 foreign chambers of commerce and business organisations were polled.
Across the board, respondents reported improved sales during the past six months compared with the previous survey carried out in October.
On an index using a scale of +2 (strong improvement) to -2 (strong decline), firms in the finance sector reported the most improvement at +0.92 (previously +0.60), closely followed by those in sales and trading at +0.70 (previously +0.53).
Reflecting this improvement, some 56% of firms polled reported strong or some improvement in profits over the past six months, with those in the service sector showing the biggest change at +0.74 (previously +0.50).
No doubt buoyed by success, respondents remain positive about the economy. For the next six months, the index is +0.69, compared to +0.33 in October, and further growth is expected over the coming 12 months, with an index of +0.74, previously +0.42. Some 78% of respondents report seeking further growth, while 18% expect to sustain their current level.
When asked about an optimal exchange rate that would profit Japan and foreign firms, respondents from among members of European chambers of commerce suggested an average rate of ¥124.9/€1, while others suggested an average rate of ¥109.6/US$1.
Among the respondents who choose “Other” when asked what type of structural change should be emphasised in Japan, popular suggestions were bringing more women into the workforce, increasing levels of immigration and internationalisation.
The next survey will be conducted in October.
Full report: www.fcc.or.jp/fcij.bcs.html
This survey is sponsored by Asian Tigers.