Tokyo (Japan), April 9: Japan's consumer confidence shed 2.4 points in March compared to the previous month, posting the steepest fall in 23 months due to increasing concerns over price hikes amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the Japanese government said Friday.
The seasonally adjusted index of sentiment among households consisting of at least two people stood at 32.8 in March, declining for the third consecutive month, according to data released by the Cabinet Office.
It logged the lowest level since January 2021, down from 35.2 in February.
The figure, collected from a Cabinet Office survey conducted between March 8 and 22, reflects consumers' economic expectations for the coming six months, with a reading below 50 indicating that pessimists outnumber optimists.
A total of 92.8 percent of the respondents in the survey said they expect prices to rise in the year ahead, up 1.1 percentage point to reach the highest number since comparable data became available in April 2013.
Among the total, 53.1 percent said a price hike of 5 percent or more is likely to take place.
The consumer confidence survey was conducted among 8,400 households, including 2,267 single-member households, and 6,588 of them, or 78.4 percent, answered the questions.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet Office revised down its basic assessment of the index for the third straight month, saying consumer confidence has been "weakening further."
"It is necessary to continuously monitor how the prices of natural resources and raw materials will affect consumer sentiment and consumption behaviors," a Cabinet Office official said at a briefing, adding that the outlook remains unclear.