Japanese confidence jumps

The mood of Japanese consumers improved to a one-year high last month, according to a cabinet office survey published yesterday. Consumer confidence was boosted by hopes for support from post-quake reconstruction, following last year’s devastating natural disaster. The survey’s index showed that views on income and jobs averaged 40.3 in March, up from 39.9 in the previous month and the highest level since February 2011, when the index was 41.2. However, the reading is still well below the benchmark of 50, which is needed to suggest consumer optimism.