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--Japan Govt Cuts View: Weakness seen in recovery
--Japan Mar Econ Watchers Current Index 44.8; Feb 47.5
--Japan Mar Watchers Current Index Posts 1st Drop in 2 Months
--Japan Mar Watchers Outlook Index 48.6; Feb 48.9
--Japan Mar Watchers Outlook Index Posts 2nd Straight Drop
TOKYO (MNI) - Japan's current sentiment index fell in March, recording the
first drop in two months, hit by weak items linked to retail sales, services and
housing, a key government survey released Monday showed.
The survey indicates whether respondents with jobs most sensitive to
economic conditions -- taxi and truck drivers, department-store sales staff and
restaurant and shop owners -- think economic conditions have improved or
worsened from three months prior.
These are the key points from the latest monthly Economy Watchers Survey,
conducted by the Cabinet Office between March 25 and March 31.
--The Economy Watchers sentiment index for Japan's current economic climate
fell 2.7 points to 44.8 in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, the first drop
in two months after rising 1.9 points to 47.5 in February. The index remains
below the key level of 50.
--March's 44.8 is the lowest level since July 2016, when it was at 44.4.
--The Watchers outlook index showed the sentiment outlook over two to three
months ahead marked the second straight drop, down 0.3 points to 48.6 on the
back of weaker outlook for housing and eating and drinking services.
--The Cabinet Office lowered its overall economic assessment based on the
Economy Watchers Survey, saying, "weakness is seen in recovery." Previously, the
government said "a moderate recovery continues. The downward revision is the
first time since December 2018.
--"Looking ahead, there are concerns over uncertainty over the global
economy but there are expectations for (higher sales and businesses) linked to
the era name change and the planned holidays (from April 27 to May 6)," the
Cabinet Office said. The name of Japan's new era, set to start on May 1, is
"Reiwa," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on April 1. The change will
come into force as Crown Prince Naruhito succeeds his father Emperor Akihito to
the throne as head of state, after the latter's expected abdication on April 30.
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