Japan economy watcher sentiment improves for 2nd month

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Sentiment among so-called economy watchers in Japan improved for the second consecutive month in October due to a decrease in new COVID-19 cases and the lifting of a state of emergency over the pandemic, government data showed Tuesday.

The seasonally adjusted diffusion index on economic watchers’ sentiment rose 13.4 points from the previous month to 55.5, the highest level since January 2014, the Cabinet Office said.

The agency upgraded its assessment for the second straight month, saying that the economy is picking up moderately. In the previous month, it offered the view that the economy was showing signs of recovery.

The DI for household-related businesses gained 15.4 points. Of them, the restaurant and bar sector saw the index jump 31.2 points.

A restaurant worker in the Hokuriku central region said that local people increasingly went out and that the number of tourists and business travelers is growing.

The economy watchers’ outlook DI for economic conditions two or three months ahead inched up 0.9 point to 57.5.

Some respondents voiced concerns that more people may become frugal. An employee of a supermarket in the northern prefecture of Hokkaido pointed out that higher gasoline prices and other factors are weighing on households.