Business sentiment among large manufacturers worsened in March compared with three months earlier in the biggest point loss since December 2012, reflecting concerns over a slowdown in China and other overseas economies.

The Bank of Japan tankan, measuring confidence among companies such as carmakers and electronics firms, stood at 12, down from 19 in the December survey. The result, released Monday, was slightly weaker than the average market forecast of 13 in a Kyodo News poll.

The seven-point decline from December was the largest since December 2012, when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's current administration was launched, and came after the index remained unchanged at 19 in December. Large manufacturers forecast a further decline to 8 for the coming months, the survey showed.