Japan's service sector sentiment improves for 1st time in 3 months in September

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-10 17:45:05|Editor: Mengjie
Video PlayerClose

TOKYO, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- Sentiment in Japan's service sector improved in September for the first time in three months, owing in part to robust sales of seasonal clothing, the government said in a report on Tuesday.

According to the Cabinet Offices monthly "Economy Watchers" survey, the current conditions index rose 1.6 points from August to 51.3, marking the first improvement in three months.

The government upwardly revised its view of the economy for the first time since May, stating that the economy here has "improved steadily."

This compares to its previous months assessment that the economy "continues to pick up."

Robust sales of goods for the autumn season helped push the index up, a cabinet official was quoted as saying.

These included clothing and goods at departments stores, clothing stores and drug stores.

Temperatures falling in September earlier than usual, was another reason for these seasonal items selling more than usual.

Solid sales of food and performances in service-industry related businesses, also helped the index, another official said.

The forward-looking index, which gauges conditions two to three months ahead, shed 0.1 point to 51.0, owing to falling numbers of tourists, as Japan contends with ongoing geopolitical issues and the upcoming general election, which also impacted the index.

The Economy Watchers survey asks business-cycle sensitive workers their thoughts on existing and future economic conditions, to provide the government with a detailed picture of economic trends in Japan.

Segments of the economy surveyed in September included sectors such as retail, restaurant service, and taxi driving, and the monthly report serves as both a consumer confidence indicator and a leading indicator for the rest of the economy.

The rise in Septembers current conditions index was due to more people seeing business conditions as "getting better" and less people saying things are getting "worse."

The monthly government survey is gauged by a score above 50 meaning those "watchers" surveyed have an optimistic feeling about business conditions and a score below 50 means the opposite.

The outcome of the monthly survey is followed closely by the Bank of Japan (BOJ) as it reflects retail sector sentiment more precisely than some other government data.

In its latest poll, the Cabinet Office surveyed 2,050 workers nationwide from Sept. 25 to 30 and the response rate was 1,862 workers or 90.8 percent.