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June consumer confidence rises for first time in three months

Kyodo

Consumer confidence improved slightly in June, rising for the first time in three months amid higher share prices and improving employment conditions, the government said Friday.

The seasonally adjusted index of sentiment among households made up of two or more people increased 0.3 point from May to 41.7, the Cabinet Office said. Readings below 50 indicate that pessimists outnumber optimists.

All of the index’s four components advanced, with consumers’ view both of livelihood and income growth up for the second straight month, gaining 0.6 point to 39.4 and 0.5 point to 40.3, respectively.

Consumers’ near-term readiness to buy new durable goods expanded 0.3 point to 39.9, and their assessment of employment conditions rose 0.1 point to 47.3.

The government kept intact its basic assessment of the index, saying the pace of the pickup in consumer confidence is “becoming moderate.”

Reports in the media indicated an increase in prices of everyday items such as chocolate and bread. Gasoline prices also rose from the previous month.

Meanwhile, consumer confidence appeared to be bolstered by rising stock prices and an improvement in job availability, which improved to its best level in roughly 23 years in May.

Looking ahead, 87.3 percent of households said they expect consumer prices to rise in the year ahead, slightly down from 87.4 percent in the previous month, the survey showed.

The Cabinet Office survey, conducted June 15, covered 8,400 households, with valid responses received from 5,570, or 66.3 percent.