Manufacturers less bearish
Big manufacturers have more confidence in the nation’s economy, but remain pessimistic overall, the closely watched quarterly tankan survey by the central bank showed yesterday. The tankan confidence index was minus 1, meaning big manufacturers are gloomy, but are less so than in March, when the survey produced a minus 4 result. The survey for the three months through last month showed its first improvement in three quarters and was better than expected. The Bank of Japan, which had forecast minus 3 for the quarter, said it surveyed 10,792 companies nationwide and about 99 percent responded.
Inflation rises to 4.53%
The government yesterday said inflation rose to 4.53 percent last month, spurred by higher basic food prices, including red chilis, a main ingredient in local dishes. The consumer price index (CPI) came in at 4.53 percent last month, up from 4.45 percent in May, the Central Statistics Agency said. Last month’s CPI increased 0.62 percent on-month compared with a 0.07 percent rise in May. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food prices, was 4.15 percent last month, from 4.14 percent in May. The central bank has left its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 5.75 percent since February.
CPI rose 2.2% last month
Inflation eased last month amid continuing government efforts to curb price rises, figures showed yesterday. The consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.2 percent last month from a year earlier, compared with a 2.5 percent gain in May, Statistics Korea said. It marked the sixth straight month that the figure had remained comfortably within the central bank’s inflation target band of 2 to 4 percent for this year. Month-on-month, the CPI was down 0.1 percent, following a 0.2 percent gain in May. Core inflation, which excludes volatile oil and food costs, stood at 1.5 percent last month from a year earlier, compared with 1.6 percent in May.
Sanko files for bankruptcy
Sanko Steamship Co, the Japanese operator of 185 ships, filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo after failing to reach an agreement with creditors on an out-of-court turnaround. The company had liabilities of ￥155.8 billion (US$2 billion), according to Teikoku Databank Ltd, a Tokyo-based corporate research company. The Tokyo District Court granted permission for closely held Sanko to continue operations under supervision and it will appoint a trustee to oversee a reorganization, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement yesterday. The company suffered from a drop in demand after the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc and it failed to act quickly enough to cut expensive charters as shipping rates fell, it said.
Growth forecast trimmed
The nation will post a smaller growth this year and next year than earlier projected, Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said in an interview published on Sunday. Growth is now expected to reach just 0.4 percent or less this year rather than 0.5 percent, while for next year, “an expansion within 1 to 1.3 percent ... appears more credible” than the earlier forecast of 1.7 percent, he said in an interview published on the Figaro newspaper’s Web site. Last week, the INSEE national statistics institute cut its growth forecast to 0.4 percent this year.