Survey December 2015

Less positive, but still bullish

Optimism on sales, profitability and growth

  • Financial, service sectors most optimistic on next six months
  • Three quarters of firms surveyed have a growth strategy
  • Majority positive about EU–Japan Free Trade Agreement

While those who responded to the latest Foreign Chambers in Japan Business Confidence Survey were less positive about the economy than when polled in April, they remained upbeat. They showed greater optimism than before regarding sales and profitability.

Conducted on 20–30 October, the poll received 240 responses from members of 13 foreign chambers of commerce and business organisations in Japan.

On an index using a scale from +2 (strong improvement) to -2 (strong decline), those in the financial sector were most positive about Japan’s economic situation for the next six months (+0.59), followed by those in the service sector (+0.25). Manufacturing sector respondents were not optimistic (+0.00).

For the next 12 months, 58% of pollees said they foresee an improving economy, while 17% expected a decline.

Some 68% of pollees reported improved sales (+0.71; previously +0.71) and 60% improved profitability (+0.60; previously +0.50) over the previous six months. North American firms outperformed the European ones in both areas.

When asked the reason behind the changed business performance, 55% of pollees credited it to their own efforts. Abenomics was given as a reason by 6% of pollees.

From October to April, 77% of pollees said they foresee improved sales and 68% improved profitability, while 6% expected a decline in sales and 7%, a decline in profits.

The firms’ strategies continue to be bullish: 75% wanted growth, 21% their level to be sustained, and only one firm (0%) was considering withdrawing from the market.

Pollees in European chambers were asked about the impact of the EU–Japan Free Trade Agreement. Some 52% said it would be good for their business and that of Japan, while only 2% said it would not.

The next survey will be conducted in April.

Full report:

This survey is sponsored by Asian Tigers and MOS Tax Corporation.