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--Japan March Consumer Confidence Index 40.5 Vs 41.5 Feb 
--Japan Govt Keeps View: Consumer Confidence Weakening
     TOKYO (MNI) - Japan's consumer confidence index fell a point to a
seasonally adjusted 40.5 in March, the sixth straight monthly drop, according to
the Consumer Confidence Survey released by the Cabinet Office Monday.
     The drop in the index, which came after a 0.3 point fall to 41.5 in
February, was mainly caused by weaker prospects for overall economic well-being
and employment condition.
     --The Cabinet Office left its assessment, saying consumer confidence was
"weakening." The government in February lowered the assessment from January when
it said that consumer confidence "showed weak moves."
     --Consumers were more pessimistic on the all four key aspects for their
sentiment; overall economic well-being, income conditions and the next six
months would be a good time to buy durable goods, and employment prospects.
     --The sub-index on asset prices, which is not included in calculating
overall consumer confidence, showed the first m/m drop in two months, down 0.7
points to 40.3 after rising 0.8 points to 41.0 in the previous month.
     --The survey also showed the public's inflation expectation for the next 12
months rose for the third straight month. The share of those projecting price
gains rose to 86.4% in March, after rising to 86.0% in February. The share of
respondents forecasting lower prices stood at 3.7%, up from 3.4% in February.
--MNI Tokyo Bureau; tel: +81 90-2175-0040; email:
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2225; email:
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