Japan lowers assessment of consumer confidence

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Tokyo, Feb 3 (IANS) Consumer confidence in Japan weakened in January, with sentiment dented by a slide in oil prices clouding the outlook for the global economy, while an equities rout and a slowdown in emerging economies also added to woes, the cabinet office said in a report on Wednesday.

Downgrading its assessment for the first time in six months, the government report showed that on a seasonally-adjusted bases the index of sentiment among households made up of two or more people fell to 42.5 from December’s 42.7, Xinhua reported.

A reading below the boom-or-bust 50 mark indicates pessimistic sentiments outnumber optimistic ones.

“The pace of the pickup in consumer confidence is becoming moderate,” the cabinet office said.

This compares to the previous month when the government’s official assessment of consumers’ outlook in the coming six months was that it was showing “signs of picking up”

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Willingness to buy durable goods showed a minor uptick, the survey showed, but sentiment regarding employment, livelihood and income growth all dropped.

The cabinet office also said more households have lower inflation expectations, dropping 1.8 percentage points from December to 79.3 percent.

The government survey polled 8,400 households, including single-member households in the middle of January and had a 65.1 percent response rate.

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