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Economy in Brief

Japan’s Retail Sales Are On The Road To Recovery
by Robert Brusca April 28, 2010

Japan’s retail sales have made another strong monthly gain. In the just-completed quarter, nominal retail sales are rising at an 11.3% annual rate over the previous quarter’s level. Gains are strong across the major retail categories we follow in the table above.

We are looking at the strongest Yr/Yr gains in Japan’s retail sales in well over a decade. The results are a breath of fresh air amid the sorts of news we are dealing with in markets today. News of Japan’s strengthening economy is being submerged by the Goldman Sachs inquiry and testimonies, the Greek relapse, the downgrading of Portugal and by Germany’s reluctance to approve the disbursement of funds for Greece.

As the European circus goes on, few eyes are cast to Asia. Japan’s improvement is a welcome sign, however. This not just a better economic report from Japan, but it is also evidence that the Japanese consumer has finally emerged to spend. We are still waiting for the same sort of thing to happen in Europe where the recovery remains largely an industrial and export-led recovery without much consumer participation.

Japan Retail Sales Trends
  Mar-10 Feb-10 Jan-10 3-mo 6-mo 12-mo Yr-Ago Q-to-Date
Total SA 0.8% 0.9% 2.0% 15.9% 5.7% 4.9% -12.5% 11.3%
Not seasonally adjusted
Total: Nominal -0.1% 1.8% 2.4% 17.4% 7.9% 4.6% -13.0% 14.3%
  Motor Vehicles 2.0% -1.2% 2.5% 14.0% 22.0% 18.2% -16.3% 9.2%
  Food& Beverage 0.5% -2.0% 5.1% 15.1% 2.6% 0.6% 2.2% 12.1%
  Fabric apparel& access -0.7% 2.3% 3.1% 20.7% 10.3% 8.0% -15.3% 24.3%
  Rest of Retail -0.9% 5.0% 0.5% 19.2% 7.6% 3.5% -20.2% 15.5%
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