Japan's consumer confidence also fell to its lowest in five years in April as gains in prices of everyday goods exceeded the pace of wage growth. The sentiment index dropped to 35.2 last month from 36.7 in March, the Cabinet Office said today in Tokyo, the lowest since March 2003.
``This depressing situation for consumers will continue until gains in food and oil stop eroding real income,'' said Takehiro Sato, chief economist at Morgan Stanley in Tokyo. ``It's very hard to paint an optimistic picture for consumer spending with this sluggish wage growth.''
Equipment orders, which signal capital spending in the next three to six months, declined 8.3 percent in March and companies expect orders to fall 10.3 percent in the second quarter, the Cabinet Office said yesterday.