Japan March household spending posts first fall in 3 months By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A shopper wearing a protective face mask is seen at a site selling women’s clothes inside a shopping mall, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tokyo, Japan July 26, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

By Kantaro Komiya

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s household spending fell in March for the first time in three months, though the drop was smaller than expected, as consumers remained wary of rising living costs despite some easing of COVID-19 curbs.

Household spending declined 2.3% in March from a year earlier, government data showed on Tuesday, slower than Reuters’ median market estimate for a 2.8% drop and following 1.1% growth in the previous month.

On a seasonally-adjusted, month-on-month basis, spending rose 4.1% in March, stronger than the forecast 2.6% growth.

Japan’s consumer inflation is at a multi-year-high, fanned by the war in Ukraine and the yen’s rapid decline to 20-year-lows.

In March, Japanese real wages fell for the first time in three months as inflation outstripped steady nominal wage growth.

Economists expect the world’s third-largest economy to have contracted an annualised 0.7% in the January-March quarter, followed by a 5.1% rebound in April-June, according to the latest Reuters poll.

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