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    60pc of top Japanese executives expect economy to improve over next six months

    ANN/THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN – Sixty per cent of corporate leaders surveyed by The Yomiuri Shimbun think the country’s economy will pick up over the next half-year or so.

    Among the 30 leaders of top firms polled by the Yomiuri, 18 said the economy would improve over the next about six months.

    This represented a decline of 10 executives from a year earlier, when more than 90 per cent of respondents said it would make a recovery, pushed down by high raw materials prices and concerns about a slowdown in the global economy.

    The survey was conducted via interviews or in writing between mid-November and mid-December last year.

    Regarding the business forecast for the next six months or so, 18 executives said the economy would recover moderately, while eight said it would come to a standstill.

    Three said it would decline moderately. No one said the economy would take off quickly.

    Customers shop at the grocery section of the Takashimaya Nihombashi department store in Chuo Ward, Tokyo. PHOTO: THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN

    With more than one answer allowed, 17 executives said the recovery would be caused by an upturn in private consumption, while 10 cited expected progress in balancing economic activities with the prevention of infections through such means as the use of COVID-19 vaccination certificates.

    Six respondents who said the economy would hold steady or moderately worsen cited higher oil and raw material prices as the reason for their outlook. Another six cited the sluggish United States (US) economy.

    Regarding the current state of the economy, 21 respondents said it is experiencing a moderate recovery, while seven said it has stagnated. One said it is declining moderately.

    Twenty-one executives said the recovery was spurred by an upturn in private consumption, while 12 named the recovery in investment in plant and equipment.

    Sixteen executives, or over 50 per cent of respondents, said the economy would grow in real terms by at least one per cent but less than 1.5 per cent, indicating the prevailing view that slow growth will continue.

    In 2022, the yen weakened against the dollar against the backdrop of the widening interest rate gap between Japan and the US.

    At one point, it hit the JPY151 level against the dollar for the first time in about 32 years.

    Twelve executives said the dollar-yen exchange rate would peak at around JPY145 in 2023, the most popular choice among the respondents.

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