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Economy in Brief

Japan's Consumer Confidence Very Weak
by Robert Brusca February 13, 2008

Japan’s consumer confidence survey did not used to be monthly. That is why the chart shows its past as a quarterly report represented by unconnected dots co-joined with its new form in which the dots are connected month-to-month. Based on a full sample of observations back to 1988 the current Consumer confidence readings are very weak. Based on the data from 2004 onward when monthly reporting kicked in these are the worst levels for all of the components that this report has seen. But in its broader historic context, while overall livelihood is nearly at an all-time low, employment is still above mid range in its 54th percentile. Willingness to buy durable goods is weak in the bottom 25 percentile of its range. The same relative position is true of expected income growth. People assess the value of their assets as in about the bottom third of its historic range.

Clearly Japan is undergoing some difficulties. The consumer is still very concerned about the future. While the OECD leading indicators show Japan in an upswing of sorts, Japan’s own indicators continue to show the economy bogged down with some conditions still worsening.

Japan Consumer Confidence
  Monthly Change over Percentile of range*
  Dec-07 Nov-07 Oct-07 3-mos 6-mos 12-Mos Since 2004 Since 1988
Overall Livelihood 34.9 37.0 41.0 -7.3 -7.5 -8.6 0.0 0.0
Income growth 39.6 40.7 42.2 -2.8 -2.6 -2.5 0.0 26.1
Employment 40.6 43.1 45.3 -5.8 -8.4 -8.4 0.0 59.7
Willing to buy Durable Goods 37.0 38.4 42.8 -8.5 -9.4 -11.9 0.0 27.3
Value of Assets 40.8 42.4 44.6 -3.4 -5.9 -4.7 0.0 40.1
For two-person households; * Percentiles since Mar 2004 when series became monthly or full period
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