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TOKYO (AP) — Japanese manufacturers’ sentiments have plunged to the lowest level in more than a decade, a quarterly Bank of Japan survey showed Wednesday as the coronavirus pandemic crushes exports and tourism, the mainstays of the nation’s economy.

The headline measure for the “tankan,” tracking sentiment among large manufacturers, fell to minus 34 for April-June, the lowest since 2009, from minus 8 the previous quarter.

The tankan measures corporate sentiment by subtracting the number of companies saying business conditions are negative from those responding they are positive.

That measure has declined for six quarters straight.

Sentiment among large nonmanufacturers fell to minus 17 from plus 8.

Japan was already fighting stagnation before the pandemic began. Tourism has plunged after dramatic increases in recent years, mostly from China and South Korea. Japan has banned travel from more than 100 nations to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Exports have dropped in products such as cars and machinery as overseas consumers hold back on buying. Analysts say recovery will take longer for Japan than for the U.S. or Europe because the world’s third-largest economy depends heavily on exports.

Giant exporters like Toyota Motor Corp. have reported sharp profit falls and aren’t giving fiscal projections because of uncertainty about damage from the outbreak.

The Bank of Japan was providing ample cash in the system to prop up the economy even before the coronavirus hit. The Japanese government, like others around the world, have recently doled out cash handouts to individuals and aid to businesses.


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Manufacturing bounces back stronger than expected in June, ISM reading shows

Workers assemble cabinets at CNC Cabinetry in South Plainfield, New Jersey, June 16, 2020.Andrew Kelly | Reuters

More than half of U.S. manufacturers reported better-than-expected expansion in June, the first time that has happened since the coronavirus pandemic locked down the domestic economy.

The Institute for Supply Manufacturing survey showed a reading of 52.6, a percentage count of firms that said their businesses are growing. That's up from May's 43.1 and the 41.5 trough in April that came a month after shelter-in-place orders took much of the nation's productive capacity offline.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for a 49.5 reading.

"As predicted, the growth cycle has returned after three straight months of COVID-19 disruptions," said Timothy R. Fiore, ISM chair. "Demand, consumption and inputs are reaching parity and are positioned for a demand-driven expansion cycle as we enter the second half of the year."

Only five of the 18 industries surveyed reported contraction for the month. Expansion was best among textile mills, wood products and furniture and related products.

Employment jumped to 42.1 from 32.1 in May, while production surged 24.1 points to 57.3. New orders rose 24.6 points to 56.4 and prices increased from 40.8 to 51.3.

Of the sub-indices, only supplier deliveries showed a monthly decline, dropping 11.1 points to 56.9. Exports and imports both posted gains though they remained below 50.

The report comes as all 50 states proceed into various phases of reopening. Some hotspots, particularly in the South and West, either have had to halt or curtail some activities in the face of a resurgence in the virus.

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