TOKYO: The net profits of over 1,000 of Japan's biggest firms are likely to decline by an average of over 80% in the 2008 fiscal year, according to a study by the Shinko Research Institute of companies, excluding the financial sector, listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Based on figures from 1,029 companies that had released their financial results in the first three quarters of the 2008 fiscal year, the Institute predicts that sales will fall by an average of 6.4%, and net profits by 83.4% for the year as a whole.

From April to December 2008, the organisations under consideration saw sales drop by an average of just 1% year-on-year, though the high value of the yen and declining exports will exert pressure over the rest of the year.

The automobile firms listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange posted a mean 71.9% fall in net profits from April to December, with the country's biggest auto maker, Toyota, registering an operating loss for the first time.

The manufacturing sector as a whole also experienced a decline of 77.3% in net profits over the same period, compared with a 39.4% decrease for companies in the services industry.

Data sourced from Asahi; additional content by WARC staff