Japanese consumer confidence plunged
in March from a month earlier as the devastating impact of the March
11 earthquake, tsunami and ongoing nuclear crisis weighed heavily on
the nation's economic outlook, a Cabinet Office report showed
According to the government report, consumer sentiment among households made up of two or more people, which includes views on incomes and jobs, fell from 41.2 in February to 38.6 in March, marking the index's lowest level since June 2009.
A reading below 50 indicates that the number of pessimists outnumber the number of optimists regarding confidence in Japan's economic situation.
The Cabinet Office downgraded its assessment based on the March index, saying that consumer confidence is "showing signs of weakness." In February the government said consumer confidence has become "almost flat."
In March all four sub-indexes spanning overall economic well- being, income growth, job security and consumers' willingness to buy durable goods dropped considerably from the previous survey, the government data showed.
The Cabinet Office conducted the survey on March 15, just four days after the earthquake, polling 6,720 households of which 4,904 responded.
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