Mood among Japanese firms remains negative

A government survey shows that many large companies in Japan continue to feel gloomy about business. The sentiment index has come in negative for the second quarter in a row.

The figure for the April to June period was minus 4.7, which is worse than the minus 4.5 from the previous quarter.

A negative number means that a majority of companies feel business is worse during the current quarter than the last. Over 10 thousand firms responded to the survey conducted by the Finance Ministry and the Cabinet Office.

The outcome shows the impact of the coronavirus state of emergency. The index for restaurants and hotels was minus 32.3. The retail sector came in at minus 20.2.

Automobile and parts manufacturers logged minus 16.3 on the back of the global semiconductor shortage.
The entire manufacturing industry marked a negative figure for the first time in four quarters.

But a majority of large companies expect sentiment to turn around in the July-to-September quarter, with the projected index at 7.7. Officials say firms believe the country's vaccination program will pick up speed.