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Economy in Brief

Japan's Retail Sales Drop
by Robert Brusca  April 15, 2009

Japans economy continues to show the strains it is under as retail spending fell again in February. The 0.2% drop is a step-up from the 0.1% drop in January which comes on the heels of December’s 1.7% sales collapse. As a result of this sequence of sales results, Japan’s retail sales in 2009-Q1 are falling at a 6.6% nominal rate. Nominal sales are off by only about 2.5% Yr/Yr (seasonally adjusted) since retail sales in Japan only began falling consistently starting in October of last year. Over three months sales are off at a 7.8% annual rate; over six months the decline is at a 5.5% annual rate.

In addition industrial output in Japan fell by 9.4% in February after a sharper drop of 10.1% in January. These ARE month-to-month drops in overall industrial output. Japan’s industrial sector is being gutted by the sharp contraction in global trade. Japan remains an economy under a great deal of pressure.

Japan Retail Sales Trends
  Feb-09 Jan-09 Dec-08 3-mo 6-mo 12-mo Yr-Ago Q-to-Date
Total SA -0.2% -0.1% -1.7% -7.8% -5.5% -2.5% 0.0% -6.6%
Not seasonally adjusted
Total: Nominal -1.2% 0.9% -2.5% -10.9% -7.3% -5.7% 13.0% -6.4%
  Motor Vehicles -6.1% 3.7% 4.3% 6.1% -7.7% -5.4% 13.1% 6.7%
  Food& Beverage -1.5% -0.5% -1.4% -12.9% -3.1% -0.6% 8.9% -9.1%
  Fabric apparel & access 0.0% 1.7% -6.3% -17.6% -6.9% -7.2% 8.3% -5.8%
Rest of Retail -0.1% 1.0% -4.0% -11.8% -9.8% -8.5% 16.2% -7.5%
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