Japan’s household spending fell a real 6.6% in February from a year earlier, down for the third straight month under the country’s second state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic, government data showed Tuesday.

Average spending by households with two or more people in real terms was ¥252,451 ($2,300), according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

The pace of decrease accelerated from a 6.1% drop in January and a 0.6% dip in December. The February reading was affected by a leap day in 2020, which is estimated to have pushed down this year’s figure by 2.3 percentage points, a ministry official told reporters.

In terms of real seasonally adjusted figures, meanwhile, spending rose 2.4% from January, following a 7.3% fall in the previous month, with a remarkable decline in the number of daily new virus infection cases across the country in February.

The government declared its second state of emergency over the pandemic in early January for the Tokyo metropolitan area amid a third wave of virus infections that began in November, asking restaurants and bars to close early and people to refrain from unnecessary outings.

The measure was expanded to 11 prefectures within a week but later lifted in stages, with the step fully removed in late March.

The average monthly income of salaried households with at least two people edged up a real 0.1% to ¥535,392, up for the first time in three months.

Household spending is a key indicator of private consumption, which accounts for more than half of Japan’s gross domestic product.

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