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A recent poll of 101 major companies has found a sharp deterioration in business confidence following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The survey, conducted about two weeks after the disaster, found that 47 firms, or 68 percent of the 69 companies giving economic forecasts, expect a recession. Seven firms forecast a recession in the previous poll, which covered 110 companies, late last year.

None of the respondents in the latest poll forecast a smooth economic expansion. Six anticipate a moderate pickup and 16 forecast little change.

In contrast, 22 firms predict a moderate recession and 25 anticipate a recession, while 32 refrained from giving a forecast.

While 15 firms say the disaster’s adverse impacts on the economy and their earnings may end within one year, 22 expect the bad news to continue for a year or more.

Five firms in the manufacturing and transportation sectors expect the negative impact to last three years or more.

Thirty-four companies said damage inflicted on customers or business partners would likely affect their business. In the manufacturing sector, 26 firms pointed to supply shortages in raw materials or components.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. declined to respond to many of the questions.

“We would like to do our best to prevent the situation from deteriorating and stabilize electricity supply as quickly as possible,” it said.

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