Business / Economy

Consumption in Japan began coronavirus comeback around second half of May, survey shows

Jiji

Consumer spending began recovering sharply from the coronavirus pandemic in the second half of May, a private survey showed Monday.

According to the results of the survey, obtained by Jiji Press, the index for retail industry trends for the period turned upward for the first time in about three months, apparently showing consumption picked up after the government fully lifted the state of emergency for the pandemic on May 25.

The JCB Consumption Now survey, jointly conducted by major credit card company JCB Co. and Tokyo-based data analysis firm Nowcast Inc., uses anonymized credit card settlement data to compile trend indexes for the industry twice a month.

The retail industry index for the latter half of May rose 0.5 percent compared with the second half of January, before COVID-19 spread throughout Japan. The index was falling rapidly from the first half of March through the first half of May, descending at rates from 4.6 percent to 7.6 percent.

By business category, the index for restaurants recovered the most in the reporting period May. The indexes for department stores and izakaya (traditional Japanese pubs) also showed substantial improvement.

“The survey showed that consumption in Japan was headed for a recovery after hitting a bottom in the latter half of April,” JCB said.

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