Japan service sector mood buoyed; outlook dimmed by Covid curbs

08 Jul 2021

Service sector sentiment in Japan increased for the first time in June in three months.

This is according to a government survey published on Thursday, despite being prepared to declare a state of emergency for Tokyo to halt a new wave of coronavirus cases.

Having risen 9.5 points to 47.6 last month, the index is based on a poll of workers including hotel staff, restaurant employees and taxi drivers – so-called ‘economy watchers’ – due to their proximity to consumer and retail trends, Reuters reports.

Although this index concentrated on current business conditions, another index gauging the outlook for future conditions improved for the second consecutive month, rising 4.8 points to 52.4 last month.

Several analysts have noted the improvement could be temporary however, predominantly due to plans for another round of emergency Covid restrictions getting underway next week until 22 August whilst the city hosts the Olympics.

The Cabinet Office upwardly revised its view of the economy based on the survey of results, adding it was “picking up”, from a serious condition.

In addition, the Bank of Japan is scheduled to hold a policy review meeting on 15-16 July, where it will offer its latest growth and inflation forecasts, the Reuters News Agency report goes on to add.

Japan’s economy contracted an annualised 3.9% in the first quarter of this year, and likely only experienced moderate growth in the second quarter.

Many economists forecast consumption will remain weak, in part due to the sluggish coronavirus vaccine rollout.