Large Japanese companies plan to boost capital spending by 6.9 percent in fiscal 2004 from the previous year, the first investment expansion in four years, the Development Bank of Japan said in a report released Wednesday.

The planned growth of investment in plants and equipment will be led by an 18.8 percent rise in the manufacturing sector, the biggest increase since fiscal 1990, when manufacturers raised capital expenditures by 20.8 percent, the governmental lending agency said.

In particular, automakers and producers of electric machinery plan to increase spending by 20.7 percent and 18.6 percent, respectively, according to the DBJ’s June survey, to which 3,000 companies, capitalized at 1 billion yen or more, replied.

Carmakers have aggressive investment plans as they are promoting the production of environment-friendly vehicles, while electric-machinery manufacturers will expand spending to meet a soaring demand for digital home appliances.

Nonmanufacturers as a whole plan to expand capital spending by 1.3 percent, the DBJ said.

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