Japan's key economic gauge declines for 3rd month

A key gauge of business conditions in Japan fell in September, marking the third decline in a row as auto production and exports slump.

The Cabinet Office said on Monday that the Coincident Index fell 3.8 points from the previous month.

Officials said the pandemic made it difficult to obtain parts in Southeast Asian countries, creating snags for automakers and leading to declines in exports to Asia as well as the US and Europe.

The office downgraded its assessment of the index to "weakening" from "improving".

The Leading Index, a measure of the business outlook for the next several months, also declined for the third-straight month, dropping 1.6 points.

Officials say auto production could recover towards the end of the fiscal year, but they say they need to keep an eye out for a possible economic slowdown due to the pandemic.