Japan: Consumer confidence collapses in March
The consumer confidence index fell to 30.9 in March from 38.4 in February, marking the lowest reading since the Global Financial Crisis in 2009, almost certainly due to the negative economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The index measures consumer expectations about the economy for the next six months—a reading above the 50.0-threshold suggests consumers are optimistic, whereas a reading below the threshold points to pessimism.
Consumers were less confident about all aspects of their economic lives in March, with perceptions of income growth, employment, willingness to buy durable goods and overall livelihoods all deteriorating. Separately, the percentage of consumers who expected prices to increase one year in the future dropped to 70.3% in March from 76.5% in February.
Turning to April, consumer confidence is likely to continue struggling. The March reading was based on a survey conducted on 15 March, which was before the Japanese government announced the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games to July next year. Moreover, the government declared a state of emergency on 7 April, which will increase restrictions on economic life.