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Household spending rose 5.4 percent in September from a year earlier, marking the biggest increase since a 5.8 percent gain in March 1997, when consumers were stocking up on goods ahead of a consumption tax hike, the government said Wednesday.

Household spending in September averaged 296,109 yen, the fourth consecutive monthly increase, said the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications. The increase compares with a 4.1 percent rise in spending by wage-earning households in the same month.

The ministry credited a greater number of holiday weekends in September than the previous year and sales campaigns related to professional baseball.

Among the 10 major spending categories, transportation and telecommunication saw the biggest increase, surging 13.5 percent to an average of 37,548 yen. Spending in the housing category came second, posting a 9.8 percent rise to an average of 20,174 yen. Households spent more on housing and facility maintenance.

Expenses in the cultural education and recreation category also helped the overall rise by climbing 4.4 percent to an average of 28,845 yen.

Household spending accounts for 60 percent of Japan’s gross domestic product, and wage-earning households’ outlays make up 60 percent of total household spending.

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