Japanese firms surge to pre-crisis optimism

A MAJOR index of Japanese business suggests that firms were more confident in the three months to December than at any point for the last six years.

The climate of economic optimism has also spread from large companies: the part of the index which applies to small firms is positive for the first time since the early 1990s.

The headline figure for large manufacturers rose from 12 to 16, the fourth quarter of improvement and the highest score since 2007. Any positive figure suggests business growth.

“The survey forecasts remained close to multi-year highs, suggesting that the economy should be able to weather the storm of April’s consumption tax hike,” said Daiwa Capital Markets’ Chris Scicluna.