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--BOJ March Consumer Sentiment Diffusion Index Down 4.9 To -19.2 
     TOKYO (MNI) - The Bank of Japan's quarterly consumer survey saw sentiment
fall from three months ago, as judged by income and business conditions.
     These are the key points from the survey, released Friday:
     --The BOJ's consumer sentiment diffusion index for the current climate fell
4.9 points to -19.2 in March, extending December's 1 point decline -14.3. It was
the third 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 first rise in four quarters, up 1.4 points at -30.6 in March after
falling 14.9 points to -32.0 in December.
     --The BOJ survey also showed that the percentage of respondents expecting
prices to rise in the next year stood at 78.7% in March, up from 77.5% in
December. Just 2.6% of those responding said prices would fall in the next year,
up from 2.2% three months earlier. Those saying prices would be little changed
12 months ahead slipped to 18.1% from 19.6%. The median CPI forecast stayed at
+3.0%.
     --Looking five years ahead, 82.3% said prices would rise, up from 80.8%
three months earlier. Meanwhile, 4.2% of respondents expect prices to fall,
compared with 5.2% in December. Those saying prices would be little changed fell
to 11.4% from 12.4%. The median forecast stayed at +2.0%.
     --The survey was conducted between February 7 and March 5 and of the 4,000
people polled, 2,127, or 53.2%, responded to the BOJ survey.
--MNI Tokyo Bureau; tel: +81 90-2175-0040; email: hiroshi.inoue@marketnews.com
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2225; email: les.commons@marketnews.com
[TOPICS: MAJDS$,MMJBJ$,M$A$$$,M$J$$$]
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 | les.commons@marketnews.com