Business / Economy

Japan household spending falls for third straight month in November

Kyodo

Japanese households cut spending for the third straight month in November as unseasonably warm weather reduced the need for heating and winter clothing.

Spending by households with two or more people fell 0.6 percent in real terms from a year earlier to ¥281,041, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

The average temperature in Tokyo during the month was 14.0 C, about two degrees warmer than the same month the previous year, according to the Meteorological Agency.

That led to a relative reduction in spending on electricity as people felt less need to turn up the heating, and to a fall in spending on clothing items such as sweaters, scarves and gloves, the ministry said.

Spending on food items such as seafood and meat fell, possibly because the warm weather discouraged people from cooking hot pot dishes at home, a ministry official who briefed reporters said.

Expenditures on cars and travel packages were also down, while figures rose for home renovations and education.

The ministry maintained its assessment that household spending is “pausing in its recovery” for the third straight month.

Private consumption, which accounts for more than half of gross domestic product, has been slow to pick up amid tepid wage gains. Companies remain reluctant to pass on record-high earnings to workers despite repeated calls by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for them to do so.

The average income of salaried households with at least two people edged up 0.1 percent to ¥455,644 after adjusting for inflation, the data showed, the first rise in five months.

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