Poll May 2013

FCIJ Business Confidence Survey

Economy expected to markedly improve over next six months

The 23rd Foreign Chambers in Japan Business Confidence Survey received 293 valid responses from members of business organisations and 18 foreign chambers of commerce.

Conducted between 10 and 19 April, the half-yearly survey shows an expected significant improvement in views on the Japanese economy compared with the previous poll (October 2012).

Pollees expect the economy to grow significantly over the next six months, and even predict a slightly higher expansion rate for the 12-month period.

That said, the positive economic expectations did not fully tally with the reported and/or projected performance of the respondents’ firms—most likely due to the weakening of the yen.

Sales grew over the past six months, but at a lower rate than had been reported in the October survey. Similarly, profits grew at a somewhat slower rate.

Respondents’ sales forecasts seemed more optimistic for the upcoming six months than they had been in October, although profitability was expected to grow at a slightly reduced rate.

The strategies of foreign-affiliated firms in Japan continue to be bullish. Only 71% (74% in October 2012) of respondents expect further growth, with 26% hoping to sustain current levels. Meanwhile, 2% are planning to downsize, although only 1% are considering withdrawing from Japan.

The survey included two new questions: one question regarding Abenomics, and the other free trade agreements.

Respondents had conflicting views on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policies but, when asked about the EU–Japan Free Trade Agreement, members of European chambers of commerce were rather positive.

However, the opinions of the nations wishing to be included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement were less positive.
The next survey will be conducted in October, with the results published later that month.

Full report: www.fcc.or.jp/fcij/bcs.html