April 5, 2019 / 6:16 AM / a year ago

Japan's coincident index improves, government maintains economic view

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers a press conference standing next to the calligraphy 'Reiwa' which was chosen as the new era name at the prime minister's office in Tokyo, Japan, April 1, 2019. Franck Robichon/Pool via Reuters

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s coincident indicator index improved for the first time in four months in February and the government kept its view to say the economy is at “a turning point”, government data showed on Friday.

Calculated from a range of data including factory output, employment and retail sales, the index, along with other data, will be assessed retrospectively by a government panel of economists and academics to determine where the economy is in the cycle.

The index of coincident indicators rose a preliminary 0.7 point in February from the previous month, the Cabinet Office said.

The government kept its assessment intact to say the economy was at “a turning point towards a downgrade”, meaning the economy may have peaked a few months earlier.

Concern has been growing over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s economic policies amid a series of weak data such as exports and factory output.

The index for leading economic indicators, which is a gauge of the economy a few months ahead and is compiled using data such as job offers and consumer sentiment, rose 0.9 point from January.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim

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