Tokyo, April 30 (Jiji Press)–Business sentiment among small and medium-sized firms in Japan fell to its lowest level in over a decade in April amid the coronavirus crisis, the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry said Thursday.
The business sentiment diffusion index, or the percentage of companies seeing good business conditions minus that of those feeling the opposite, deteriorated 11.4 points from the previous month to minus 60.4, the JCCI said.
According to the business group, the latest DI stood worst since January 2010, when it came to minus 62.3 amid Japanese small businesses still miring in a slump brought on by the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers in September 2008. It was also weaker than minus 57.7 recorded in April 2011 on the heels of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated eastern and northeastern Japan regions on March 11.
The DI is expected to plunge to minus 71.1 in May-July, close to the worst-ever level of minus 73.4, scored in February 2009.
The survey covered 2,709 JCCI member firms in the construction, manufacturing, wholesale, retail and services industries. Of them, 79.5 pct gave valid responses.
Sentiment worsened all the industries, with the services sector hit particularly hard by the spreading coronavirus outbreak, which led to the government’s declaration of a state of emergency and authorities’ stay-at-home requests, the JCCI said.
A separate survey found that 56.8 pct of member firms have already seen the impact of the pandemic on their management and that 96.9 pct are concerned about the fallout from a prolonged crisis.