Japan’s consumer confidence improved in February for the third straight month, the government said Thursday, suggesting that the negative impact of the consumption tax hike last April has started to fade among households.
The seasonally adjusted index of sentiment among households made up of two or more people rose 1.6 points from January to 40.7, the Cabinet Office said.
The government upgraded its basic assessment of the index, saying consumer confidence “shows signs of picking up,” compared with the previous month’s phrase saying it “shows signs of bottoming out.”
The survey polls consumers on the economic outlook for the coming six months. A reading below 50 suggests pessimists outnumber optimists.
All of four components improved in February, with consumers’ views on livelihoods improving 2.5 points to 38.3.
Consumers’ assessment of income growth rose 0.4 point to 38.9, while their views on employment conditions climbed 1.4 points to 46.1 and their near-term readiness to buy new durable goods expanded 2.1 points to 39.4.
The Cabinet Office conducted the survey on Feb. 15, covering 5,712 households. Valid responses came from 4,123, or 72.2 percent, of them.
At the time when the survey was conducted, the key Nikkei stock index rose from January and the yen weakened further against the dollar, while gasoline prices also declined.