Economy watcher sentiment hits low

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Sentiment among so-called economy watchers, or those in economy-sensitive jobs, in July worsened for the third consecutive month to hit a three-year low, the Cabinet Office said Thursday.

The seasonally adjusted economy watcher index fell 2.8 points from the previous month to 41.2, a level unseen since the index stood at the same point in April 2016, when a series of strong earthquakes struck Kumamoto Prefecture and nearby areas in the Kyushu region.

Based on the latest reading, the Cabinet Office downgraded its basic assessment on the index for the first time in four months, citing signs of weakness in the economic recovery due partly to weather and other temporary factors.

According to the Cabinet Office, a convenience store worker in the northern Kanto region said that demand for drinks, cold noodle products, ice cream and others slumped 20 to 30 percent, due to the prolonged rainy season this year.

A clothing store worker in Hokkaido pointed to a sharp decline in sales of summer items.

A metals maker worker in the Kinki region mentioned a fall in shipments of some products to China, amid escalating trade tensions between it and the United States.Speech

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