Corporate loan demand ticks up


Corporate demand for bank loans improved in April for the first time in six months, according to a quarterly Bank of Japan survey released Friday.

The diffusion index on changes in corporate loan demand over the past three months rose to plus 5 in April from plus 4 in the previous survey in January. It was the first increase since October, the BOJ said.

Lending demand showed signs of bottoming out among large manufacturers, as well as small construction and real estate firms, reflecting firmness in overseas economies and the domestic recovery.

The DI reflects the percentage of banks seeing stronger loan demand minus the percent of banks seeing weaker demand.

The DI rose to plus 5 from minus one for major manufacturers. Among small businesses, it improved to plus 3 from minus one for manufacturers, and to plus 3 from zero for nonmanufacturers.

By industry, lending demand improved markedly among construction and real estate companies on the back of rising housing loan demand from individuals.

The BOJ survey covers the country’s 50 biggest banks in terms of outstanding loans. It was held between March 11 and April 10.