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The key index gauging consumer confidence in Tokyo was 40.3 in February, up 0.1 point from the previous month for the second consecutive month of improvement, the government said Monday.

An index reading below 50 means the majority of consumers are pessimistic about the future. The index has never recorded figures indicating optimism since its creation in November 2001.

The index edged up because three of its five component factors posted gains from a month earlier, according to the Cabinet Office’s Economic and Social Research Institute.

The factors that marginally improved were employment, up 0.9 point to 30.5; living conditions, up 0.6 point to 40.7; and income growth, up 0.6 point to 40.3.

Deteriorating factors included whether prices would go up, down 0.6 point to 48, and whether it is a good time to buy durable goods, down 0.9 point to 42.1.

The institute assigns varying points to the degree of confidence on the part of respondents by asking how much they expect conditions in the five components to improve or worsen.

The respondents are asked whether conditions will “improve,” “improve somewhat,” “remain unchanged,” “deteriorate somewhat” or “deteriorate.”

The institute assigns 1 point to “improve,” 0.75 point to “improve somewhat,” 0.5 point to “remain unchanged,” 0.25 point to “deteriorate somewhat” and zero point to “deteriorate” before collating the results and compiling the index.

The indexes were tallied on the basis of a survey on Feb. 15 of 435 households in Tokyo, of which all responded.

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