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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 February 2006, 06:15 GMT
Japan manufacturers still upbeat
Toyota showroom in Tokyo
Confidence continues to shine in the car industry
Confidence among Japan's manufacturers grew slightly in February, extending an eight-year high, a report has found.

The monthly Reuters Tankan survey of leading companies had a reading of 34 from manufacturers in February, up from 33 in January and December's 32 figure.

Confidence was highest in the car and wider transport equipment sector.

However, non-manufacturing firms were not as upbeat, with their confidence reading dropping to 17 in February from 22 in January.

Corporate insight

Sentiment was worst among the real estate, construction, and retailing sectors.

The Tankan survey comes up with its figures by subtracting the percentage of respondents who say business conditions are poor from the percentage of those who say they are good.

While the monthly report is not as closely watched as the Bank of Japan's quarterly Tankan survey, it does give a valuable insight into corporate opinion.

Japan's economy is continuing to recover steadily, if unspectacularly, and may be about to put behind it a period of deflation, falling wages and sputtering corporate earnings.

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