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Japan again lowered its assessment on exports, imports and industrial production, the Cabinet Office said on Thursday as it tweaked its latest main economic assessment from the previous month.

"We tweaked the assessment" but not an overall view change as there are upward and downward revisions, a senior official at the Cabinet Office said. As for the near-term view, the government said that the economy is expected to pick up while "economic and social activities move toward normalisation."

However, the government maintained a cautious view, because of supply-chain disruptions and high commodity prices that could increase downside risks, including continuing disruption from the pandemic in Japan and overseas economies" along with potential fluctuations in the financial and capital markets.

UPGRADES

The impact of the novel coronavirus "is gradually easing," the government said. Private consumption shows "movements of picking up, while some weakness remains," the assessment said.

But the assessment on private consumption was upgraded, for the first time since October 2020, after the government lifted a pandemic state of emergency at the start of October, the official said, adding the government must pay great attention to the impact of high energy costs on corporate profits and consumers' purchasing power.

DOWNGRADES

The government lowered its assessment on exports, for the first time since October 2021, due to weak shipments of automobiles, and for imports, for the first time since August 2021.

It said that exports "are almost flat" and imports "are weakening."

The assessment on industrial production was also lowered in the wake of weak automobile production. The downward revision is the first time since September. "Industrial production appears to be pausing before picking up," the assessment said.