Japan Mar Econ Watchers’ Index Hits 8-Mth High; Govt Ups View

Author: Market News International | Category: News

— Japan Mar Watchers’ Current Index 51.8 Vs Feb 45.9
— Japan Watchers’ Current Index Posts 2nd M/M Rise in Row
— Japan Mar Watchers’ Forward-Looking Index 49.7 Vs Feb 50.1
— Japan Mar Forward-Looking Index Posts 1st Drop in 3 Months
— Japan Govt Upgrades View: Economy Picking Up

TOKYO (MNI) – The Economy Watchers’ Survey index for Japan’s
current climate surged to an eight-month high, buoyed by the pullback in
the yen’s rise, revived subsidies for buying low-emission vehicles and
projects to rebuild the earthquake-battered northeastern areas, Cabinet
Office data released Monday showed.

The current conditions index jumped 5.9 points to 51.8 last month
from 45.9 in February, hitting the highest reading since July 2011, when
the index stood at 52.6. It is also the first time in eight months that
the index has topped the key 50 level.

This led the government to upgrade its assessment, saying that the
economy is “picking up.”

In the previous month’s report, the government said the economy is
“picking up moderately” although that the drag from the relatively
strong yen lingers.

Meanwhile, the forward-looking index, which gauges conditions two
to three months ahead, fell to 49.7 in March from 50.1 in February,
posting the first fall in three months amid uncertainty caused by rising
crude oil prices.

The February level was the highest since 51.9 marked in April 2007.

The watchers’ index gauges whether respondents with jobs most
sensitive to economic conditions — taxi and truck drivers, department
store sales staff as well as restaurant and shop owners — believe
economic conditions have improved or worsened from three months before.

The household sub-index for current conditions rose to 51.1 in
March from 44.4 in February.

The business sub-index for current conditions increased to 51.0
last month from 44.8 the previous month.

The labor sub-index advanced to 58.1 in March from 57.7 in
February, marking the highest reading since September, 2011 when the
index was at 58.4.

The Cabinet Office said the survey was conducted between March 25
and March 30.

** MNI Tokyo Newsroom: 81-3-5403-4835 **

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