Japan's Dec. economy watcher sentiment worsens amid weak spending

Japan Economic Newswire |

Business confidence among workers with jobs sensitive to economic trends saw the biggest drop in 11 months in December as consumer spending remains weak, government data showed Friday.

The diffusion index of sentiment among "economy watchers" such as taxi drivers and restaurant employees stood at 48.0, down 3.0 points from November, the largest fall since January last year, according to the survey.

On the outlook for the next few months, the survey by the Cabinet Office found workers were worried about the negative impact of the trade war between United States and China.

The office revised downward its assessment for the first time in seven months, saying sentiment "continues to be on a moderate recovery track but appears to be in a temporary lull." The office said in November that sentiment is "moderately recovering."

A reading below 50 indicates that more respondents reported worsening conditions than improving conditions over the previous three months.

A Department store worker in the Kinki region said sales of winter clothes in the month were sluggish due to warmer than usual weather.

The index gauging the outlook for economic conditions in the coming months was down 3.7 points at 48.5.

"Weak stock prices not just in the U.S. but in the global market because of trade frictions and U.S. interest rate hikes will have an impact," said an employee of a local metal manufacturer in the Kyushu region.

Some workers expressed concern over the impact of the planned consumption tax hike in October.

The office polled 2,050 workers from , of whom 1,830, or 89.3 percent, responded.

==Kyodo

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