Asia

Japanese business confidence index slumps more than expected

  • FILE - In this Feb . 19, 2015 file photo, a port worker walks past a pile of cargo at a container terminal in Tokyo. The "tankan" index for large manufacturers fell to 6 in March 2016, down from 12 in December. The Bank of Japan released the results of its quarterly survey on Friday. Japan's big exporters have been hit by a double whammy of a slowing Chinese economy and a rising yen. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

    FILE - In this Feb . 19, 2015 file photo, a port worker walks past a pile of cargo at a container terminal in Tokyo. The "tankan" index for large manufacturers fell to 6 in March 2016, down from 12 in December. The Bank of Japan released the results of its quarterly survey on Friday. Japan's big exporters have been hit by a double whammy of a slowing Chinese economy and a rising yen. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this June 30, 2014 file photo, Japanese vehicles are parked before being loaded onto a cargo ship for export at Yokohama port, near Tokyo. The "tankan" index for large manufacturers fell to 6 in March, down from 12 in December. The Bank of Japan released the results of its quarterly survey on Friday, April 1, 2016.  Japan's big exporters have been hit by a double whammy of a slowing Chinese economy and a rising yen. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)

    FILE - In this June 30, 2014 file photo, Japanese vehicles are parked before being loaded onto a cargo ship for export at Yokohama port, near Tokyo. The "tankan" index for large manufacturers fell to 6 in March, down from 12 in December. The Bank of Japan released the results of its quarterly survey on Friday, April 1, 2016. Japan's big exporters have been hit by a double whammy of a slowing Chinese economy and a rising yen. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 12, 2016 file photo, people walk past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 in Tokyo. A closely watched index of business confidence in Japan has slumped more than expected, sending stocks down in early trading in Tokyo. The “tankan” index for large manufacturers fell to 6 in March, down from 12 in December. The Bank of Japan released the results of its quarterly survey on Friday, April 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 12, 2016 file photo, people walk past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 in Tokyo. A closely watched index of business confidence in Japan has slumped more than expected, sending stocks down in early trading in Tokyo. The “tankan” index for large manufacturers fell to 6 in March, down from 12 in December. The Bank of Japan released the results of its quarterly survey on Friday, April 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)  (The Associated Press)

A closely watched index of confidence at major Japanese companies slumped more than expected in March, sending stocks down in trading in Tokyo on Friday.

The "tankan" index for large manufacturers fell to 6 in March, down from 12 in December, according to the Bank of Japan's quarterly survey. Analysts polled last week by Japan's Kyodo News service predicted it would fall to 8.

Japan's big exporters have been hit by a double whammy of a slowing Chinese economy and a rising yen.

The index measures the percentage of responding companies that say business conditions are better minus the percentage that say they are worse. So an index level of 6 means slightly more companies are optimistic than pessimistic. Companies can also respond that conditions are unchanged.

The index for large non-manufacturing companies, such as construction, retail and services, fell to 22, down from 25 in December.

The survey covered 10,930 large, medium and small companies, of which 1,087 were large manufacturers and 1,043 were large nonmanufacturers.