Japanese Consumer Confidence Hits 13-Year High

By Agence France-Presse Japanese consumer confidence in May hit its highest level in nearly 13 years, a government report said June 11, providing yet another solid sign of a recovery in the world's second biggest economy. The key consumer confidence index, which excludes single-person households, rose 2.9 points from April to 48.3, supported by better prospects for employment and earnings, the Cabinet Office said. It was the highest reading since September 1991 when it stood at 48.5. The index is based on how family households see trends in four areas -- employment, overall livelihood, income growth and inclination to purchase durable goods -- in the coming six months. If everyone believes that the trend will improve, the index registers 100. It reads zero if everyone forecasts an outright deterioration in the situation. The Japanese economy grew 1.5% in January-March from the previous quarter, equivalent to annualized growth of 6.1% , the best performance of the world's top seven industrialized nations. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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