Japan households' mood hits 5-year low.

 
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Japanese households' confidence in the economy worsened to a five-year low in the three months to December, a central bank survey showed on Thursday, adding to a recent slew of gloomy signs for the fragile recovery.

The ratio of households who expect prices to rise a year from now also slid to a more than two-year low, underscoring the challenge the Bank of Japan faces in firing up inflation to its elusive 2percent target.

A diffusion index measuring households' confidence in the economy stood at minus 29.8 in December, the worst reading since the corresponding month of 2014, the quarterly survey showed.

The survey, conducted for about a month to Dec. 3 on 4,000 households, also showed that 32.9percent of respondents cut back on spending after a sales tax hike in October.

Households curbed...

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