Japan’s April economy watcher sentiment up for 2nd straight month
TOKYO. KAZINFORM - Business sentiment among workers with jobs sensitive to economic trends in Japan rose for the second straight month in April, as eased anti-coronavirus restrictions on business activities encouraged more people to go out during the Golden Week holidays from later that month, government data showed Thursday, Kyodo reports.
The diffusion index of confidence in current conditions compared with three months earlier among «economy watchers,» such as taxi drivers and restaurant staff, climbed 2.6 points from March to 50.4, according to the Cabinet Office.
The index surpassed the boom-or-bust line of 50 for the first time since December, indicating that among respondents, the optimists outnumbered the pessimists.
The office maintained its assessment of the economy from March, saying it has shown «signs of picking up.»
A coronavirus quasi-state of emergency that covered most of the country's 47 prefectures was lifted incrementally and removed across the nation in late March, prompting people to make plans and reservations for holiday outings ahead of the Golden Week period between April 29 and May 8.
«With an increase in the number of people commuting to schools and offices (since the quasi-state of emergency has been lifted), many stores are seeing higher sales and more visitors from last year,» said a staffer at a convenience store in the Tokai region in central Japan.
An increase in recruitment activities by major companies also supported the index, the data showed.
The office polled 2,050 workers from April 25 to 30, of whom 1,816, or 88.6 percent, responded.
Looking ahead, the diffusion index of business sentiment in the coming months climbed 0.2 point from March to 50.3.
But a Cabinet Office official said that while workers are «expecting the growth trend from Golden Week to continue, the rising prices of raw materials and oil amid ongoing conflict in Ukraine» may weigh down on business sentiment.