• Kyodo News

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Consumer sentiment rose in March for the third straight month as more people forecast improvements in employment conditions than the previous month, the Cabinet Office said Friday.

The index of confidence among households made up of two or more members picked up 2.2 percentage points from February to 28.9, scoring the largest gain since January 2007, when the index also climbed 2.2 points.

Consumer sentiment “remains severe but is ceasing to deteriorate,” the Cabinet Office said as it raised its assessment for the second month.

The improved consumer sentiment reflects stabilizing prices of foodstuffs and daily necessities, an official said.

The confidence index is calculated based on whether consumers expect the economy to “improve,” “improve somewhat,” “remain unchanged,” “deteriorate somewhat” or “deteriorate” over the coming six months in four categories — livelihood, income growth, employment and willingness to buy durable goods.

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