Japan: Consumer confidence reaches highest level in over a year
April 17, 2012
In March, the seasonally adjusted consumer confidence index grew to 40.3 points from 39.9 points in February (previously reported: 39.5 points). The print overshot market expectations that had consumer confidence rising to only 40.0 points and marked, in fact, the highest level since February 2011. The consumer confidence index measures consumer expectations over the next six months, with a value of 100 points indicating that all respondents see their living standards improving. The monthly improvement was broad-based, as all main sub-components that compose the index recorded advances over the previous month. In particular, job conditions grew markedly as unemployment fell in February. Moreover, sustained gains were seen in the income growth and the overall livelihood categories. Meanwhile, the willingness to buy durable goods recorded a softer increase. Owing to the improvement registered in March, the Cabinet Office maintained its assessment that "consumer confidence continues to recover."