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Japan economy watchers sentiment logs 2nd-biggest drop in Jan.

  • February 8, 2022
  • , Jiji Press , 7:07 p.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Feb. 8 (Jiji Press)–Sentiment among so-called economy watchers in Japan, or people working in industries sensitive to changes in economic trends, logged the second-largest-ever drop in January, a government survey showed Wednesday.

 

The seasonally adjusted index on economy watchers’ sentiment about current economic conditions plummeted 19.6 points from the previous month to 37.9, falling for the first time in five months.

 

It was the biggest decrease since the 25.2-point drop in March 2011, when a major earthquake and tsunami struck eastern Japan, and the second biggest since comparable records began in January 2002.

 

The plunge reflected the rapid spread of the omicron novel coronavirus variant and soaring materials prices.

 

The Cabinet Office lowered its basic assessment of the January survey, conducted for seven days from Jan. 25, saying that weakness can be seen in the pickup of the economy.

 

The Japanese government expanded the scope of COVID-19 pre-emergency designations to include prefectures in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area and in the Kansai western region in late January.

 

Of the three underlying indexes, that on household activities sank 24.0 points.

 

A restaurant operator in the southern Kanto region in eastern Japan said that “reservations fell to zero due to the pre-emergency measures,” while an official of a travel agency in the Hokuriku region, central Japan, said that “there have been a string of cancellations for business trips and travels.”

 

The index on corporate activities dropped 9.5 points. An official of a real estate company in northern Kanto cited a decline in profit due to rising fuel and materials costs, while an official of an electronic machinery and equipment manufacturer in the Chugoku western Japan region said that the company was forced to cut production due to coronavirus infections among its workforce.

 

The index on employment retreated 11.7 points.

 

The index on economy watchers’ outlook for the economy two to three months ahead fell 7.8 points to 42.5, with an official of a convenience store in Kyushu, southwestern Japan, saying that it “cannot expect a rebound in the economic conditions if a coronavirus state of emergency is declared again.”

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