Japanese retail sales declined for an eighth month running in October, although the fall was much smaller than expected in a sign the economy was making positive strides in the fourth quarter.
Retail sales fell at an annualized 0.1% last month, following a 1.7% drop in September, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry reported Tuesday. A median estimate of economists called for a 1.5% year-over-year decline.
Retail sales have now declined in 11 of the past 12 months.
In a separate report on Tuesday the National Statistics Bureau said overall household spending declined 0.4% in the 12 months through October, following a 2.1% decline the previous month. That was also the eighth consecutive monthly fall.
Private consumption, which represents roughly 60% of gross domestic product (GDP), expanded just 0.1% in the third quarter, a government report revealed earlier this month. That was unchanged from April-June. It also pointed to weak underlying momentum despite the economy expanding at a much faster than expected 2.2% annually in the third quarter.
Earlier in the day, the Statistics Bureau said Japan’s unemployment rate held steady at 3% in October, where it has stood in three of the last four months. The number of jobs per applicants rose to 1.4. This essentially states there were 140 jobs for every applicant.
Later this week, the Japanese government will issue reports on industrial production, housing starts and foreign bond investment.