Japan's key economic gauge rises 0.4 point in Feb.

17:02, April 06, 2011      

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A key gauge of Japan's current economic conditions rose for a fourth straight month in February, data from Japanese Cabinet Office showed Wednesday.

The composite index of coincident indicators such as industrial output, retail sales and overtime working hours, which reflects current business conditions in Japan, rose to 106.3 against the 2005 base of 100, up 0.4 point from January's reading of 105.9, the preliminary government report revealed.

The reading in the recording period was in line with economists ' expectations.

The leading composite index, meanwhile, which measures the state of the economy three months ahead rose to 104.2 in February from 101.5 in January, also in line with consensus forecasts.

As for the lagging index, which reflects economic conditions three months in the past, the index stood at 91.0 in February, climbing 2.3 points from the previous month, the cabinet office said.

According to the calculations of the monthly report, a reading above 50 points indicates an economic expansion, while a reading below 50 indicates the opposite.

Economists predict that all indices will be adversely affected due to a devastating earthquake and tsunami hitting east and northeast Japan last month and the affects of a prolonged nuclear crisis.

Based on the provisional indexes of business conditions for February, the cabinet office's official assessment was that economic situations in Japan are "improving," although this view will likely be downgraded in upcoming assessments.

Source: Xinhua
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