Average household spending fell a real 4.6 percent in April from a year earlier to 318,015 yen, the first decline in three months, the government said in a preliminary report released Tuesday.

Average household spending is a key gauge of personal consumption, which accounts for 60 percent of the coun- try’s gross domestic pro- duct.

Expenditures fell in the reporting month for food, down 4 percent; transportation and communications, down 7.5 percent; and clothes and footwear, down 3.4 percent, according to the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications.

In contrast, spending on furniture and household appliances rose 9.5 percent, while outlays on health care increased 1.5 percent.

As reported earlier, spending by wage-earning households fell for the first time in five months in April, declining a real 4.4 percent from a year earlier to an average of 347,882 yen.

Average spending by other households dropped a real 3.5 percent in April from a year earlier to 276,241 yen, the ministry said.

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