Japan manufacturers’ gloom eases but pandemic woes remain

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    TOKYO- Japan’s manufacturers were their least pessimistic in four months in August, the Reuters Tankan survey of business sentiment showed on Tuesday, but signaled a slow recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

    The reading highlights the immense task policymakers face to pull the economy out of its deepest recession on record after the coronavirus pandemic pummelled corporate and household activity.

    The poll, which tracks the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) closely watched “tankan” quarterly survey, pointed to a modest recovery, with manufacturers’ morale seen somewhat less negative in the coming months.

    Tuesday’s survey found that the mood of manufacturers rose to minus 33 in August from minus 44 the previous month, its highest since February. The service-sector gauge was at minus 23 from minus 26.

    The Reuters Tankan index readings are derived by subtracting the percentage of respondents who say conditions are poor from those who say they are good. A negative reading means that pessimists outnumber optimists.

    “Demand is on an improving trend compared to the first quarter but it remains at about 70 percent of what we had projected,” a manager at a transport equipment maker wrote in the survey.