World News

Japan November household spending seen falling at slower pace: Reuters poll

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s household spending likely fell at a slower annual rate in November as consumers were probably slowly getting over a hike in the sales tax in October, though its effect would still keep a lid on spending, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday.

After the increase in tax, household spending fell 5.1% in October, its fastest pace of decline since March 2016. But the poll of 12 economists predicted November would show a fall of 1.7% from a year earlier.

Household spending is expected to have fallen 1.7% in November from a year earlier, the poll of 12 economists showed. In October, it fell 5.1%, the fastest pace of decline since March 2016.

From the previous month, household spending was seen rising 3.4% in November, rebounding from a 11.5% decline in October.

Japan increased the sales tax to 10% from 8% on Oct. 1, a move that is seen as critical for fixing the country’s tattered finances.

“The pace of recovery in household spending after it tumbled in October due to the sales tax hike likely be slow,” said Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.

“Big falls in consumer spending in October-December can’t be avoidable.”

The government will publish household spending data at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 10 (2330 GMT, Jan. 9).

A separate data showed Japan’s inflation-adjusted real wages declined at their fastest pace in four months in November, clouding the outlook for an economy already under pressure from a nationwide tax increase.

The economy grew an annualized 1.8% in July-September thanks to resilient domestic demand but economists project a contraction in the fourth quarter as the sales tax hike hurt consumer spending and the U.S.-China trade friction hit exports.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)