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Kankeiren predicts better business picture in fiscal 1996

Corporate performance is expected to significantly improve from next spring and sales for fiscal 1996 are predicted to be higher than the last year at 70% of companies coveredby a Kansai Economic Federation (Kankeiren) survey released December 21.The survey conducted in early December polled top executives of 653 Kankeiren member firms.According to the survey, for October-December, the number saying the business climate would improve (20.8%) far exceeded those expecting it to deteriorate (5.2%).The figures confirm a brightening business climate after a similar poll in September had pessimists (18.1%) overwhelming the optimists (8.6%).For the first quarter of 1996, the number of optimists increases to 25.5%.In April-June, 59.9% reckoned business would pick up, foreseeing the economy's quick recovery.Respondents also forecast the economic growth rate will rise to 1.8% for fiscal 1996 from fiscal 1995's 1.2%.As a result of the expected higher economic growth, 73.3% said sales at their firms would increase, with 96.6% anticipating profits on a pretax basis.For fiscal 1996, 56.2% said pretax profits would be higher than those of the preceding year.As for the average exchange rates, the respondents predicted 95.5 yen to the dollar for fiscal 1995 and 100.3 yen for fiscal 1996.