Business / Economy

Japan consumer sentiment hits record low

JIJI

Consumer sentiment in Japan weakened for the 12th straight month in September, hitting its lowest level since the survey started in April 2013, a Cabinet Office survey showed Wednesday.

The seasonally adjusted consumer confidence index dropped 1.5 points from the previous month to 35.6, ahead of Tuesday’s consumption tax increase. The survey covered households of two or more people.

The index was lower than the 37.1 marked when the consumption tax was previously raised in April 2014.

The latest tax increase may dent personal consumption, a key engine of Japan’s economic growth at a time when exports have been dropping amid a prolonged U.S.-China trade war.

September marked the biggest fall in the consumer confidence index since it dropped 1.9 points in February 2016 due to stock market weakness.

The Cabinet Office maintained its basic assessment that consumer sentiment is weakening.

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