* Households increased spending on food, electronic devices
* Nearly 60% of households said no big change in income vs
* Nearly 90% cut spending on leisure, entertainment - survey
* Households' inflation expectations weaken from June
TOKYO, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Japanese households' confidence in
the economy slumped to a decade-low in the three months to
September, a central bank survey showed, underscoring the pain
the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted on the world's
The data heightens the chance the government and the Bank of
Japan will maintain their massive stimulus programmes to cushion
the economic blow from the pandemic.
The diffusion index gauging households' sentiment on current
economic conditions hit -75.6 in September, worse than -71.2 in
June, the BOJ's quarterly survey showed on Thursday.
It was the worst reading since June 2009, when the global
financial crisis, triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers,
jolted markets and dealt a severe blow to Japan's economy.
"The survey was compiled around the time when infection
numbers were rising in Tokyo, which may have made households
cautious over the pandemic," a BOJ official told a briefing.
The survey was conducted between Aug. 19 and Sept. 14.
Compared with a year ago, households increased spending on
food, electronic devices and daily necessities, while slashing
those on dining, travel and clothes, the survey showed.
Nearly 60% of those surveyed in September said their income
did not change much from March, when the coronavirus pandemic
began spreading across Japan.
But 87.7% said they cut spending on leisure and
entertainment compared with March, of which 57.3% said they plan
to curb spending further or not change much the amount they
spend - a sign consumption will continue to stagnate.
The survey also showed 63.3% of the respondents expect
prices to rise a year from now, down from 66.7% in June.
The diffusion index is calculated by subtracting those who
believe the economy worsened from a year ago, from those who
feel it improved. A negative reading shows pessimists outnumber
(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Kim Coghill and Ana
Nicolaci da Costa)