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Dip in Japan's coincident index suggests economy expansion stalling

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s index of coincident economic indicators worsened in September and the government cut its view for the first time in more than three years, suggesting the economy is at a standstill.

The coincident index <JPCIIN=ECI>, which consists of indicators such as industrial output, jobs figures and retail sales data, fell a preliminary 2.1 points in September from the previous month, the Cabinet Office said on Wednesday.

A powerful typhoon in western Japan and a huge earthquake in northern island of Hokkaido hurt productions and retail sales, its official said.

The government cut its assessment of the coincident index for the first time since May 2015, saying it is stalling.

The guidance of the government assessment defines there is a high possibility that an economic expansion is stalling.

The government previously viewed the index was showing an improvement.

“Stagnant exports is one of the reasons behind the recent economic slowdown, which can not be attributed to only natural disasters but it is also considered caused by the global economic slowdown,” said Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute in a report.

The leading index <JPLEIN=ECI>, which is a gauge of the economy a few months ahead, fell 0.6 point from August.

The government will later examine the economy comprehensively and retrospectively with panel members and define the economic cycle.

The economy in the second quarter grew at the fastest pace since 2016 but it was expected to shrink in the third quarter after natural disasters disrupted production and a slowdown in overseas demand undermined exports, a Reuters poll showed.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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