TOKYO – A key index reflecting the current state of the Japanese economy rose in March for the second consecutive month, as retail businesses have shown some recovery with all anti-coronavirus curbs lifted in the reporting month, according to government data released Wednesday.
The Cabinet Office kept the assessment that the economy is “improving,” the most optimistic expression, as the coincident index of business conditions rose 0.2 point from the previous month to 97.0 against the 2015 base of 100.
The office’s assessment was upgraded for the first time in 11 months in its revised report for February released in late April, as some components related to industrial output were revised upward after seasonal adjustments.
It initially said for February the economy was “weakening.”
By components, a rebound in retail sales contributed the most to the overall advance in March. Sales increased 0.9 percent from a year earlier after a 0.9 percent fall the previous month, the data showed.
The full removal of the quasi-state of emergency in late March prompted customers to return to department stores and other shops, a government official said.
The latest data showed the leading index of business conditions, forecasting the situation in the coming months, rose 0.9 point to 101.0 in March, up for the first time in three months.