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Economy in Brief

Japan Retail Sales Continue to Drop
by Robert Brusca April 28, 2009

The Year-over-year the drop in Japan’s retail sales is worsening. But overall seasonally adjusted sales while down by a sharp 1.1% m/m in March are not accelerating their drop over three months compared to six months. The 5.6% annual rate of decline over three months is less than the 7.6% pace of decline over six months but still much greater than the 3.7% pace of decline over 12-months. There is not much good news in those trends. In the just-completed quarter, sales are still falling at a rapid 7% annual rate compared to Q4. With Japan poised for its traditional Golden Week holiday, consumer spending is again set to be tested. While the US and Europe have showed some sporadic signs of improvement in data trends, there has been little in the way of constructive data from Japan as of yet.

Japan Retail Sales Trends
  Mar-09 Feb-09 Jan-09 3-mo 6-mo 12-mo Yr-Ago Q-to-Date
Total SA -1.1% -0.2% -0.1% -5.6% -7.6% -3.7% 3.2% -7.0%
Not seasonally adjusted
Total: Nominal -0.4% -1.2% 0.9% -3.1% -6.6% -3.9% 4.2% -6.7%
Motor Vehicles -2.0% -6.1% 3.7% -17.0% -10.9% -6.3% 10.0% -1.4%
Food& Beverage 0.7% -1.5% -0.5% -5.1% -0.6% 0.4% 2.1% -7.8%
Fabric apparel & access -0.9% 0.0% 1.7% 2.9% -5.7% -5.6% -1.3% -6.1%
Rest of Retail -0.7% -0.1% 1.0% 0.7% -9.3% -5.6% 5.0% -7.2%
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