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Consumer confidence fell in May from the previous month, prompting the government to downgrade its assessment of the mood of the nation’s households, the Cabinet Office said Monday.

The index of confidence among households with two or more people came to an unadjusted 49.8 for May, down 0.2 point from April, the Cabinet Office said.

A reading below 50 indicates that the number of people who see the economy as poor outnumber those who see it as good. Consumer spending, which is thought to be affected by sentiment, accounts for more than half of Japan’s gross domestic product.

“Consumer sentiment stayed flat from the previous month,” a Cabinet Office official said, revising downward is assessment of consumer sentiment. Last month, it described the mood as “improving.”

The Cabinet Office conducts interviews of consumers in March, June, September and December, and telephone surveys in other months.

The official said consumer sentiment figures usually rise in February, May, August and November, but the May reading slipped 0.2 percent from the April reading, and the margin of the year-on-year rise in consumer sentiment also narrowed to 1.5 percent, compared with the 2.0 percent rise logged over the past several months, he said.

Compared with the previous month, the index of wages rose 0.1 point to 46.3 in May. However, the other three indexes that make up the household consumer confidence index fell.

The employment index lost 0.3 point to 54.9 and that of living conditions fell 0.3 point to 46.7. The index of durable goods purchases declined 0.4 point to 51.2.

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