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Japan February sales up

JAPAN

Retail sales in Japan were up a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent on month in February, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.

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The increase missed analyst expectations for an increase of 1.0 percent following the 1.8 percent decline in January, said Reuters.

On a yearly basis, retail sales lifted 0.4 percent. Likewise, the annual increase missed expectations for 1.0 percent and down from 0.6 percent in the previous month.

By category, sales from large Japanes retailers fell annual 1.8 percent, missing forecasts for a 1.3 percent decline, following a 3.3 percent slide a month prior.

Typically, retail sales are considered a key gauge of private consumption levels and contribute to about 60 percent of the economy. The pressure on the economy from poor external demand has hurt exports and local corporate profits, which is weighing on wages and holding down households in terms of purchasing power.

The Sino-U.S. trade war has had a negative impact on Japanese domestic growth, as China’s sluggish economy curbs demand for mobile phone parts and chip-making equipment from Japan, according to Reuters.

Data by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) showed factory output rose 1.4 percent, topping a 1.0 percent increase by Reuters’ analysts.

Likewise, Britain’s upcoming exit from the European Union and unpredictable financial markets has added to a growing list of environmental factors affecting Japanese consumption.

For March, Tokyo’s core consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.1 percent from a year earlier, holding steady since January 2019.

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Meanwhile, Japan’s jobless rate stood at 2.3 percent in February and the job availability held steady at 1.63 per applicant, sitting at a 44-year high, said the Ministry.

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