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Japanese firms in Asia fear worsening business sentiment in 2019

  • January 8, 2019
  • , Kyodo News , 01:21 p.m.
  • English Press

TOKYO – Business sentiment among Japanese firms operating in Asia is likely to worsen this year due to lingering U.S.-Chinese trade disputes, a year-end NNA survey shows.


Of 630 respondents working for Japanese companies across East Asia, Southeast Asia, India and Australia, 21.0 percent said economic conditions would deteriorate this year, up sharply from 4.8 percent a year earlier, according to the survey conducted from Nov. 26 to Dec. 9.


Meanwhile 25.7 percent said the economic outlook would improve this year, down from 37.0 percent a year before.


In the survey, 43.3 percent of respondents in China predicted an economic downturn. Negative responses stood at 51.4 percent in Hong Kong, 48.0 percent in Taiwan and 53.8 percent in South Korea.


Over 40 percent in China and Hong Kong and more than 30 percent in Taiwan cited the trade row between the world’s two largest economies as the main cause for concern.


In Southeast Asia, 30.7 percent said business sentiment would improve, compared with 41.3 percent a year ago, while 10.8 percent said sentiment would worsen, up from 3.9 percent a year earlier. Respondents in India and Vietnam had the most positive outlook among the 15 Asian economies covered in the survey, with 64.2 percent in India and 61.5 percent in Vietnam saying business conditions would improve.


In India, only 5.7 percent said business sentiment would get worse. “(Gross domestic product) growth and the growth outlook for each sector remains strong, and we can feel such a strong momentum in our daily operations,” said a Japanese employee at a manufacturer.


“The government will aggressively take economic stimulus measures ahead of the general election” this spring, a respondent in the nonmanufacturing sector in India said.

Vietnam, an emerging manufacturing hub in the region, is apparently benefiting from the U.S.-Chinese trade war as higher U.S. duties on Chinese imports is prompting the relocation of factories from China. (NNA/Kyodo)

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