Japanese big companys' sentiment down in Q4: survey

Japanese big companys' sentiment down in Q4: survey

TOKYO, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Large Japanese companys' sentiment in the fourth quarter of 2013 was down for the first time in a year amid expectations that the economy would slow following the sales tax hike next April, a government survey said Tuesday.

Those firms capitalized more than 1 billion yen logged a confidence index of 8.3 in the October to December period, down from 12.0 for the three months through September, according to a joint survey by the Finance Ministry and Cabinet Office,

Sentiment at manufacturers declined to 9.7 from 15.2, while that at nonmanufacturers dropped to 7.5 from 10.4, the survey showed.

Looking ahead, large firms expect business conditions to sharply deteriorate after the country's consumption tax hike from the current 5 percent to 8 percent next April, with the index at minus 4.1 for the April-June period.

But a Finance Ministry official predicted, as those large firms believe consumer spending and investment will temporarily expand before the tax hike, the index may stand at 11.8 in the first quarter of 2014.