Japan's big manufacturers have more confidence in the economy than at any time for nearly three years, a new survey finds.

The closely watched major manufacturers index from the Bank of Japan's quarterly Tankan survey stood at 1 in September, up from minus 5 in June.

This is the first time the index has entered positive territory since December 2000. A reading above zero indicates that more respondents are optimistic than pessimistic.

However, there remain signs of weakness, as the indices for smaller companies and non-manufacturers remained negative. In addition, larger firms surprised analysts by reducing their capital investment plans for the current fiscal year. They now expect spending to rise 4.4%, compared with predictions of 4.9% in June.

Data sourced from: multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff