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Japan CEOs less bullish on economy as they wait for wage hikes

TOKYO -- Japan's corporate chiefs have grown less upbeat on the economy in recent months, the latest Nikkei survey shows, signaling a cautious stance ahead of wage hikes that could kick-start spending later this year.

Just 50% of respondents say the economy is "expanding" or "expanding slightly" -- down from 72.5% in the December survey. This marks the lowest reading since the March 2022 poll, where only 13.1% expected any expansion. Sentiment back then took a hit from Russia's just-launched invasion of Ukraine.