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Japan consumer confidence hits 1-year low in February

[TOKYO] Japan's consumer confidence fell for a second straight month in February to a one-year low, increasing the burden on policymakers attempting to boost consumption and growth.

The index measuring consumer confidence fell 2.4 points from January to stand at 40.1, suffering the fastest pace of decline since October 2013 and hitting the lowest level since January 2015, Cabinet Office data showed on Tuesday.

"Consumer sentiment is stalling," the Cabinet Office said, revising down its assessment from the previous month, when it said sentiment was picking up moderately.

The ratio of households which expect prices to rise a year from now fell 1.9 point from January to 77.4 per cent, an unwelcome development for the Bank of Japan, which is working to raise consumers' inflation expectations.

The ratio of those who expect prices to fall stood at 6.8 per cent, up 0.6 point, the survey showed.

The BOJ introduced negative interest rates in January in a fresh drive to reflate the economy out of stagnation and help accelerate inflation - now hovering around zero - to its ambitious 2 per cent target.


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