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Trend Indicators Remain Bearish

--BOJ Dec Consumer Sentiment Diffusion Index Down 1.0 To -14.3 
     TOKYO (MNI) - The Bank of Japan's quarterly consumer survey released
Wednesday showed sentiment fell from three months ago, judging from income and
business conditions.
     The key points from the survey results:
     --The BOJ's consumer sentiment diffusion index for the current climate fell
1.0 point to -14.3 in December, after falling 3.4 points to -13.3 in September.
It was the second straight quarterly drop. More people said income and business
conditions worsened from a year earlier.
     --The consumer sentiment outlook index projecting conditions a year ahead
marked the third straight drop, down by 14.9 points at -32.0 in December after
falling 0.5 points to -17.1 in September.
     --The BOJ survey also showed that the percentage of respondents expecting
prices to rise in the next year stood at 77.5% in December, up from 76.0% in
September. Just 2.2% of those responding said prices would fall in the next
year, unchanged from three months earlier. Those saying prices would be little
changed 12 months ahead fell to 19.6% from 20.9%. The median CPI forecast stayed
at +3.0%.
     --Looking five years ahead, 80.8% said prices may rise, up from 80.6% three
months earlier. Meanwhile, 5.2% respondents expect prices to fall, compared with
4.4% in September. Those saying prices to be little changed fell to 12.4% from
13.0%. The median of the forecast stayed at +2.0%.
     --The survey was conducted between Nov 9 and Dec 5, and 52.8% of the 4,000
people polled responded to the BOJ survey.
--MNI Tokyo Bureau; tel: +81 90-2175-0040; email:
--MNI Beijing Bureau; +86 10 8532 5998; email:
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