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Japan Eco Watchers Current Conditions Index Rises; Outlook Weakens

Japan's economy watchers' assessment of current conditions improved in March, while outlook weakened more than expected, survey data showed Tuesday.

The current conditions index rose to 57.9 in March from 53 in February, the Economy Watchers Survey from the Cabinet Office said. The score was forecast to improve marginally to 53.3.

Meanwhile, the outlook index fell sharply to 34.7 from 40 in February. The reading was below the expected level of 39.5.

The survey confirms that the outlook for the second quarter remains dire, Marcel Thieliant, a Singapore-based Japan economist at Capital Economics said.

The economist said never before in the history of the survey has the outlook been more pessimistic relative to the current situation than last month, underlining that economic activity will likely weaken abruptly in the second quarter.

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