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Japanese consumer confidence sinks to all-time low in April

Japan

Japanese consumer confidence fell to an all-time low in April as the economy struggles to stem losses from the global coronavirus pandemic, Japanese government data showed.

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Coming in at 21.6 for last month, the consumer confidence index dropped below its first-ever recording in April 2004, and its worst-ever reading in 2009, said the Cabinet Office data.

April’s consumer confidence index reading was the fourth consecutive monthly drop for the archipelago nation, following a reading of 30.9 in March. The drop of 9.3 points to 21.6 was the largest drop in history in Japan, and stooped well below the prior worst reading of 27.5 in January 2009, when Japan was in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.

“We have never seen such a huge drop so far. We guess that the survey results reflected the virus factors, such as (the Japanese government’s) requests for people to stay at home and suspend business operations, as well as growing public concerns about employment,” a government official told local media.

In doing the survey, some 70.7% of households expect consumer prices to rise in 2020, compared to 70.3% in March, and 10.8% expect prices to fall, down from 11% in the previous month.

Published by Cabinet Office as a part of ‘Consumer confidence survey’, the consumer confidence index measures Japanese households’ sentiment toward consumption activities.

The index consists of four sub-categories: the overall standard of living, income growth, employment and willingness to buy durable goods. By design, an index level above 50 implies that consumers expect the situation is improving.

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The April consumer confidence survey, conducted on 15th April, covered 8,400 households, including 2,688 single-member households.

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