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Needle Still Points North

     TOKYO (MNI) - Japan's government on Tuesday left its overall economic
assessment unchanged from the previous month, saying, "The Japanese economy is
recovering at a moderate pace," for the 13th straight month.
     Japan's economy has been recovering for 74 straight months, posting the
longest period for economic pick up since the end of World War II, although a
final assessment on the expansion period will be implemented by a government
panel about one year after the run ends.
     The government lowered its assessment on exports, saying, "Exports are in a
weak tone." The downward revision was the first time since October 2018.
Previously, it said, "exports are largely flat."
     "Exports to the China, such as   chip-making equipment and electronic
devices, are weakening on the back of the slowdown of the Chinese economy," an
official at the Cabinet Office said.
     The government also downgraded its assessment of China's economy for the
first time since October 2018.
     "The Chinese economy is moderately slowing down," the government said.
Previously, it said that a pick-up in the Chinese economy is stalling.
     As for the near-term outlook, the government maintained an optimistic view,
saying, "the economy is expected to continue recovering, supported by the
effects of polices, while the employment and income situation continue
     However, the government warned that it must pay attention to the impact of
trade issues and uncertainties over overseas economies, "including the prospects
for China's economy" and the effects of fluctuations in the financial and
capital markets.
     The government also changed its assessment of consumer prices, saying that
consumer prices "are flat" following the recent slowdown of consumer prices,
having previously said that the tempo of price rises is slowing.
--MNI Tokyo Bureau; tel: +81 90-2175-0040; email:
[TOPICS: MAJDS$,M$A$$$,M$J$$$,MGJ$$$]