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Japan's service sector sentiment hits 2-year low in July after torrential rainfall
Last Updated: 2018-08-08 17:28 | Xinhua
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Sentiment in Japan's service sector worsened to the lowest level in almost two years in July, a Cabinet Office survey showed on Wednesday.

The monthly Economy Watchers survey's diffusion index, in which a score of more than 50 means people view current economic conditions in a positive light, fell 1.5 points from June to 46.6, marking the lowest level since September 2016, the Cabinet Office said.

The low reading, according to the office, came amid concerns over torrential rainfall that pummeled wide swathes of western Japan in the early part of the reporting period.

Based on the survey, the Cabinet Office in its latest assessment said that the Japanese economy "continues to be on a moderate recovery trend but appears to be in a temporary lull."

The office added that its assessment was partly based on the downpours in western Japan that caused widespread flooding and landslides in early July, killing some 225 people and crippling local businesses.

The Cabinet Office also said that of those surveyed, some cited supply chain disruptions caused by the heavy rain damaging roads as negatively impacting sentiment, while workers in shopping centers said they saw patronage drop markedly during the inclement weather.

The Cabinet Office went on to say that conditions in the service sector would continue to be strained in the coming months, with the sentiment index for coming economic conditions dropping 1.0 point from a month earlier to 49.0, marking its lowest level since March 2017.

The Economy Watchers Survey asks business-cycle sensitive workers their thoughts on existing and future economic conditions to provide the government with a detailed picture of economic trends in Japan.

Segments of the economy surveyed include sectors such as retail, restaurant service, and taxi driving and the monthly report serves as both a consumer confidence indicator and a leading indicator for the rest of the economy.

The worsening sentiment shown in July was due to more people saying things were getting "worse" or "slightly worse" and less people seeing conditions as being either unchanged or "better."

The survey was conducted between July 25 and 31, and polled 2,050 workers across Japan.

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