Japan big manufacturers' morale worsens in first-quarter - BOJ tankan

Japan big manufacturers' morale worsens in first-quarter - BOJ tankan
A security guard walks past in front of the Bank of Japan headquarters in Tokyo, Japan January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato -
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TOKYO (Reuters) - Business confidence at big Japanese manufacturers worsened in March from three months ago, the Bank of Japan's closely watched "tankan" survey showed on Monday, underscoring concerns that slumping exports and factory output were taking their toll on Japan's economy.

The headline index for big manufacturers' sentiment stood at plus 12 in March, versus plus 19 registered three months ago, the quarterly tankan survey showed. It compared with the median estimate of plus 14 in a Reuters poll of economists.

The index is expected to fall further to plus 8 over the next three months.

The survey also showed that big firms plan to raise their capital spending by 1.2 percent in the financial year to March 2020, versus analysts' median estimate of a 0.4 percent decline.

The tankan's sentiment indexes are derived by subtracting the number of respondents who say conditions are poor from those who say they are good. A positive reading means optimists outnumber pessimists.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara and Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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