Japan’s Economy Watchers survey, which measures sentiment among the population by questioning those in businesses on the consumer “frontline” such as taxi drivers and estate agents, has posted results for March, and as was to be expected, the situation is bad.
On the survey, a score of 50 points means that feelings are neutral on the economy, anything below that means sentiment is negative.
For March, sentiment on the current condition of the economy lost 20.7 points and now stands at 27.7 points. The survey cites the dark mood of the nation after the March 11 earthquake and its consequences, which has had a direct effect on the economy as many people cancelled holidays and visits to restaurants. The survey also found people expect the price of many items to rise.
On the future of the economy, with the influence of events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and the likelihood of power cuts in mind, the survey cut sentiment by 26.6 points to 20.6 points.
Reasons to be cheerful? The survey found that people were buying products such as instant noodles and rice in droves, and construction was likely to receive a boost as new house are built and infrastructure is repaired in the short term. In the long term, supplies such as durable goods will be needed as part of rebuilding and rehousing efforts, which will have a positive effect.
The survey is one of the first to assess the damage caused by the March 11 earthquake, and in the coming days and months, information released by Japan will indicate the full impact of the earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima disaster on the economy.