TOKYO -- A barometer measuring the Japanese general public's outlook of future economic conditions fell to the lowest level since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe began his current stint in office.
The opinion survey for December, released by the Bank of Japan on Wednesday, shows 39.8% of respondents believe economic conditions will worsen after one year, compared with 7.8% who say conditions will improve in that span.
That translates to a negative difference of 32 points, a margin last surpassed by December 2012's survey, which showed a 33.1-point gap. Abe took office for the second time that month, marking the beginning of his signature Abenomics policies.
For views on current economic conditions, the positive-negative disparity stands at minus 14.3, a low not seen since June 2017. The BOJ suspects the worsening attitudes stem from the global stock slide that began last October.
Furthermore, 54.2% of respondents say the Japanese economy has less potential to grow compared to the current level of growth, representing a two-year low. A full 33% of the people surveyed say incomes will shrink a year from now, compared with 9.8% who say incomes will grow. The 23.2-point negative difference is the widest in nine months.
The latest survey, conducted between Nov. 9 and Dec. 5 last year, is based on responses from roughly 2,000 people.