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Average weekly earnings in Irish distribution and business services were up by 4.2 % in September 2007

European Central Bank reports tightening in Eurozone bank lending in the fourth quarter of 2007

Markets News Friday: Shares of leading US bond insurer plunges 51% triggering fears of deepening in credit crisis

Trichet says underlying Eurozone productivity trends are a “disgrace”

Japanese consumer confidence plunges to more than four year low

Friday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories

China becomes world's top Gold producer ending South African dominance dating from 1905

Japanese consumer confidence plunges to more than four year low


Japan's Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda .

Japanese consumer confidence fell to its lowest level in more than four years in December as consumers worried about worsening economic conditions, data published Friday by Japan's Cabinet office show.

The consumer confidence index fell to 38.0 in December, its lowest level since June 2003, from 39.8 in November.

The index hit the boom-or-bust line of 50 in April 2006, its highest level since June 1990, but has since been below the level.

The consumer confidence index focuses on four areas of consumer sentiment: perception of general economic well-being, income growth, employment conditions and willingness to purchase durable goods.

Respondents were asked if there was improvement in these areas over the preceding three months. A reading above 50 means respondents reporting an improvement outnumbered those seeing a deterioration, while a reading below 50 means the majority of respondents believed conditions had worsened.

The sub-index for general economic well-being fell to 34.9 from 37.0 and the income growth sub-index fell to 39.6 from 40.7.

The employment conditions sub-index dropped to 40.6 from 43.1 and the sub-index for willingness to buy durable goods fell to 37.0 from 38.4.

The data also show that 84.2% of those surveyed expected prices to rise over the subsequent 12 months, the highest percentage ever. In November the figure was 82.2 percent.

A Bank of Japan survey earlier this week showed that 86% of people are worried that prices will climb this year, the highest since 1997, when the bank started asking consumers about their expectations for inflation. More than half of the survey's respondents said they plan to spend less this year.


Toyota has 110,000 temporary workers in Japan on $10.50 an hour as Annual Dividend payout exceeds 20% - domestic car sales at 30-year low; one third of workforce are "temps"

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