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Japan’s June retail sales rise 0.5%

Japan sales

Japanese retail sales rose 0.5% in June 2019 from a year earlier, government data showed.

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The June 2019 figure surpassed the median forecast for a 0.2% increase, according to a Reuters’ poll of economists.

The 0.5% increase follows an upwardly revised 1.3% gain in the previous month, added the government’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Categorically, June sales rose at a softer pace for both machinery & equipment, up 5.6%, compared to 5.9% in May, with medicine & toiletries up 2%, compared to 4.7% last month.

Elsewhere, sales declined for general merchandise, down 2.6%, widening on May’s 2.2% decline.

Motor vehicles fell 0.9% after a 2.2% uptick; fuel plunged 3.9% after May’s 0.3%, and the others segment decreased 0.5%, improve on a 1.1% decline last month.

In contrast, sales growth accelerated for fabrics, apparel & accessories, up 4.2% in June, compared to a 4% increase in May. Food & beverages also improved slightly, up 1.5% in
June versus 1.3% in May.

On a monthly basis, retail sales were flat in June, following an upwardly revised 0.4% rise in May.

Looking ahead, Japan’s policymakers are hoping the recovery in private consumption will offset pressures from slowing external demand ahead of the planned sales tax hike to 10% from 8% in October, reported Reuters.

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Retail sales year-on-year in Japan have averaged 4.53% from 1971 until 2019. Retail sales reached an all time high of 36.5% in January 1979 and a record low of a 14.3% decline in March 1998.