A key quarterly economic survey by the Bank of Japan shows sentiment among large manufacturers remained unchanged, as worries about global trade tensions persisted.

The “tankan” survey, released Friday, says sentiment remained flat at 19 for a second month after three quarters of decline.

The survey, long seen as an important indicator of the state of the world’s third largest economy, looks at the difference between companies surveyed that have a “favorable” outlook and those with an “unfavorable” outlook.

The manufacturers surveyed include automakers and electronics companies that are the mainstay of Japan’s economy.

Some analysts had expected a downturn in sentiment. The survey, however, projected sentiment would drop by four points to 15 over the next three months.

Japan’s growth is dependent on exports and any slowdown in pan-Pacific trade would hurt sentiment. Uncertainty over trade friction with the U.S. also would discourage investment as manufacturers take a wait-and-see approach if their sales or profits might be affected by President Donald Trump’s trade policies.

Source: The Associated Press

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