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MNI (London)
     TOKYO (MNI) - The Bank of Japan's Consumption Activity Index posted the
first month-on-month drop in three months, down 7.4% on a seasonally adjusted
basis in October, data released Friday showed. 
     The fall came after upwardly revised gain of 3.8% in September and a
downwardly revised rise of 2.5% in August.
     Private consumption was hit hard by a post-tax hike drop and a string of
natural disasters in October that slowed demand.
     The October index fell 4.3% on quarter, reversing the 0.8% gain in the Q3
and +0.7% in Q2.
     The BOJ will likely lower its assessment of private consumption at its
two-day policy-setting meeting on Dec. 18-19 in the wake of the weak index in
addition to other weak spending data.
     The latest assessment was "private consumption has been increasing
moderately, albeit with fluctuations, against the background of steady
improvement in the employment and income situation."
     However, its unlikely the BOJ will change its view of the underlying
economy trend, as bank officials are focused on how private consumption evolves
in Q1.
     The BOJ's Consumption Activity Index looks to forecast revised private
consumption and is not a preliminary estimate.
--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$,M$A$$$,M$J$$$]
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 | les.commons@marketnews.com
MNI London Bureau | +44 203-865-3812 | les.commons@marketnews.com

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