• Kyodo News


Business confidence among workers with jobs sensitive to economic trends improved for the second consecutive month in February, the Cabinet Office said Monday.

The rise was attributed to hopes for lower import prices thanks to the stronger yen, as well as the government’s economic stimulus measures.

The diffusion index of confidence in current economic conditions among so-called economy watchers rose 2.3 points from January to 19.4. It registered an all-time low of 15.9 in December.

The government upgraded its assessment of economic conditions, saying they “remain extremely severe, but the pace of deterioration has been moderate,” the first upgrading since September 2006.

A reading of 50 indicates that those polled generally see economic conditions as flat. The latest reading remained below the boom-or-bust line for the 23rd month in a row.

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