Sep 30, 11:30 PM EDT

Bank of Japan tankan survey finds big manufacturers' corporate sentiment worsens at plus 12

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TOKYO (AP) -- Sentiment among big Japanese manufacturers slipped in the most recent quarter, the central bank said Thursday, underlining the shaky footing for growth in the world's third largest economy.

The Bank of Japan's "tankan" survey, released Thursday, fell 3 points to 12 in September. The tankan measures corporate sentiment by subtracting the number of companies saying business conditions are negative from those responding they are positive.

Junichi Makino, chief economist at SMBC Nikko Securities Co., said the survey for the third quarter was not upbeat, but other indicators, such as prospects for profits and plans for construction spending, were positive, providing some hope for the economy.

Japan has been trying to pull itself out of two decades of doldrums by encouraging foreign investment and fighting deflation, a constant drop in prices that deadens growth.

Analysts said the mixed messages from the survey didn't provide a strong endorsement for the Bank of Japan to increase its already lavish monetary stimulus though the government is likely pushing for an expansion.

Bernard Aw, market strategist at IG in Singapore, said central bank Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda still appears confident Japan is on track for inflation.

"The Japanese government will campaign much harder for the BOJ to step up its monetary easing. The markets will also amplify their calls for BOJ to do more," he is in a market commentary. "That said, BOJ governor Kuroda is fairly confident that the inflation path is still on track, which hints that there is a mismatch in expectations."


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