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Consumer sentiment worsens again

Kyodo

Consumer sentiment deteriorated in the three months to December for the second straight quarter, the Bank of Japan said Thursday, indicating that momentum for a recovery has waned amid rising prices and limited income growth.

The diffusion index of consumer sentiment regarding current economic conditions stood at minus 9.2, down 0.9 point from the previous survey in September.

The index is calculated by subtracting the percentage of people in a survey who feel conditions are worse than a year earlier from those who feel there has been an improvement.

The diffusion index of consumer sentiment regarding economic conditions one year ahead also worsened for the second consecutive quarter, with the index hitting minus 14.0, down 4.4 points from the previous survey.

As for income, 40.6 percent of people responding to the poll said their income has decreased from one year earlier, up 1.2 points from September, while 37.8 percent said they expect their income to decline one year from now, up 1.8 points from three month ago.

Regarding prices, 67.0 percent of respondents said they think current prices have risen from one year earlier, down 0.5 point from September.

In November, consumer prices rose 1.2 percent from a year earlier, topping the 1.0 percent level for the first time in five years.

As for prospects, the percentage of respondents who said prices will increase considerably one year later excluding the impact of the consumption tax hike in April came to 19.5 percent, up 0.7 point and the highest since September 2008.

The BOJ conducted the latest survey between Nov. 8 and Dec. 4 on 4,000 people aged 20 or older, of whom 2,241, or 56.0 percent, gave valid responses.