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Japan retail sales disappoint in Oct as inflation, weak yen bite

Economic Indicators Nov 29, 2022 00:14
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By Ambar Warrick 

Investing.com-- Japanese retail sales grew less than expected in October, data showed on Tuesday, as rising inflation, slowing economic growth and a severely weakened yen weighed heavily on consumer spending. 

Retail sales grew 4.3% from last year in October, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed. The reading was below expectations for growth of 5%, and also came in below September’s reading of 4.8%.

The data follows a string of weak economic readings for October and November, as the Japanese economy faces increased headwinds from high inflation and a weakening yen

Inflation in the country’s capital grew more than expected to a 40-year high in November, heralding a similar increase in nationwide inflation. Japanese consumer inflation also surged to a 40-year high in October, severely crimping the spending power of local consumers.

The Japanese economy unexpectedly contracted in the third quarter, recent data showed, while preliminary readings for November showed that this trend is likely to continue in the fourth quarter.

The world’s third-largest economy has been struggling with more expensive fuel and food imports this year, as a growing rift between local and U.S. interest rates saw an increasing amount of traders dump the yen.

The beleaguered currency is trading down nearly 20% for the year, and had earlier hit a 32-year low. The yen rose 0.2% on Tuesday, amid some speculation that worsening economic conditions could push the Bank of Japan into eventually raising interest rates from ultra-low levels. 

Tuesday’s reading bodes poorly for the Japanese economy, given that retail spending is a key driver of growth. It also indicates that Japanese businesses may have to contend with slowing sales in the near-term, as local and international demand dries up.

A separate reading showed that Japan's unemployment rate remained steady at 2.6% in October, disappointing market expectations for a drop to 2.5%. 

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index sank 0.7% after the data. 

 

Japan retail sales disappoint in Oct as inflation, weak yen bite
 

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