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Japan Merchants’ Mood Worsens by Most Since Winter Omicron Hit

  • Record virus numbers and inflation weigh on sentiment
  • Inflation-linked bankruptcies also hit a record in July
Shoppers in a mall in Kumamoto, Japan.
Shoppers in a mall in Kumamoto, Japan.Photographer: Soichiro Koriyama/Bloomberg

The mood among Japanese merchants fell sharply in July as the number of coronavirus infections resurged and inflation weighed on consumers. 

A gauge of sentiment among store managers, taxi drivers and others who deal directly with Japanese consumers slid 9.1 points to 43.8 last month, the Cabinet Office’s Economy Watchers survey showed Monday. That was the largest decline since January, when Japan went through its initial omicron wave of the virus. A below-50 reading indicates pessimists outnumber optimists. Analysts had forecast 51.5. A measure of merchants’ outlook also worsened, declining 4.8 points to 42.8.