Despite high inflation, Japan’s retail sales grew at a faster pace in May suggesting strong contribution by private consumption to economic growth, official data revealed Thursday.
Elsewhere, a monthly survey published by the Cabinet Office showed that consumer confidence improved to an 18-month high in June as households were more positive about income growth and employment.
Retail sales registered an annual growth of 5.7 percent in May after rising 5.1 percent in April, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry reported.
The pace was also faster than economists’ forecast of 5.4 percent.
Sales increased for the 15th straight month in May. The latest growth was driven by higher demand for automobiles, medical and cosmetic products.
On a monthly basis, retail sales grew unexpectedly by 1.3 percent, in contrast to the 1.1 percent decrease in April. Economists had forecast sales to fall 0.2 percent in May.
The revival in the tourism sector helped by the weakening yen also boosted consumer spending in June.
The consumer sentiment index rose to 36.2 in June, as expected, from 36.0 in the previous month, survey data showed.
Among four sub-indices, the overall livelihood index held steady at 32.9 in June. The income growth index rose 1.0 point to 38.9 and the employment index advanced to 43.1.
Meanwhile, the indicator for willingness to buy durable goods dropped 0.4 points to 29.9. The survey was conducted among 8,400 households on June 15.
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