Saturday, 9 April 2011

Japanese service sector sentiment plunges

This is the clearest indication yet of the negative impact of the earthquake on Japan's economy. From Reuters:

Japan's service sector sentiment index plunged to a two-year low in March, a Cabinet Office survey showed on Friday, with confidence hurt by the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11 and a subsequent nuclear crisis.

The survey of workers such as taxi drivers, hotel workers and restaurant staff -- called "economy watchers" for their proximity to consumer and retail trends -- showed their confidence about current economic conditions fell to 27.7 in March from 48.4 in February...

The outlook index, indicating the level of confidence in future conditions, was at 26.6, down from 47.2 in February.

In somewhat more encouraging news, the Japanese auto industry seems ready to get back on its feet. From AFP/CNA:

Japanese automakers Toyota and Nissan said on Friday they will restart all domestic assembly plants from around mid-April after production was halted due to the nation's biggest recorded earthquake.

In doing so they will join rival Honda in resuming production, although all three have warned output will be at 50 percent of usual levels.

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