BOJ tankan to show big manufacturers' mood weakest in 2 yrs, trim capex
tankan poll data
* March tankan big manufacturers index f'cast at +14 vs +19
* Big non-manufacturers index seen +22 vs +24 in Dec
* BOJ tankan due at 2350 GMT on March 31 (0850 JST on April
TOKYO, March 22 (Reuters) - Confidence among Japan's big
manufacturers likely weakened to the lowest in two years in the
three months to March and it is seen worsening further over the
next quarter, a Reuters poll showed on Friday, as China's
economic slowdown added to worries about sluggish global demand.
The Bank of Japan's quarterly tankan business sentiment
survey is expected to show the headline index for big
manufacturers' confidence worsened to plus 14 in March from plus
19 in December, the poll of 18 economists found.
The sentiment index for big non-manufacturers slipped to
plus 22 in March from plus 24, according to the poll, though a
positive number means optimists still outnumber pessimists.
"If the data shows worsening corporate sentiment and weak
capital spending plans, market expectations for additional BOJ
easing will increase," said Tsuyoshi Ueno, senior economist at
NLI Research Institute.
Big manufacturers' business sentiment is seen worsening in
the coming quarter to plus 12 and non-manufacturers' sentiment
is likely to deteriorate to plus 20, the Reuters poll found.
Big companies were forecast to cut their capital spending
plans by 0.4 percent for new fiscal year from April, the poll
The Bank of Japan will publish its tankan survey at 8:50
a.m. Japan time on Monday April 1. (2350 GMT on March 31).
Reuters' monthly Tankan poll, which tracks the BOJ's closely
watched tankan quarterly survey, found confidence among Japanese
manufacturers hit its weakest in two-and-a-half years in March.
FACTORY OUTPUT AND RETAIL SALES
Factory output is expected to rise 1.0 percent in February
from the previous month, the first gain in four months, the poll
Recent drops in exports and industrial output prompted the
BOJ to downgrade its views on them and the government cut its
assessment on the economy for the first time in three years.
"Factory output likely rebounded after it dropped in January
due to the Lunar New Year Holiday, but the pace of recovery is
weak on sluggish foreign demand for semiconductor-related
items," said Takumi Tsunoda, senior economist at Shinkin Central
Bank Research Institute.
Retail sales, which track performance of firms such as
department stores, supermarkets and convenience stores, were
seen rising 1.2 percent in February from a year earlier, twice
the pace in January.
The trade ministry will publish the factory output and
retail sales at 8:50 a.m. on Friday March 29, Japan time (2350
GMT March 28).
The poll also showed Tokyo's core consumer price index
(CPI), which includes oil products but excludes fresh food
prices, rose 1.1 percent in March from a year earlier, the same
pace as in February and January.
Price of electricity, city gas and oil related products
likely supported Tokyo's core CPI, analysts said.
The nation's jobless rate likely remained steady at 2.5
percent in February and the jobs-to-applicants ratio stood at
1.63 last month, unchanged from January, the poll found.
The government will release Tokyo's core CPI and jobs market
data at 8:30 a.m. on Friday.
(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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