Japan retail sales up for 8th month on tourism reopening

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Japan retail sales up for 8th month on tourism reopening
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Economy 6 hours ago (Nov 28, 2022 08:05PM ET)

Japan retail sales up for 8th month on tourism reopening
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Women check items at a retail shop at Tokyo’s Sugamo district, an area popular among the Japanese elderly, in Japan June 15, 2016. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

By Kantaro Komiya

TOKYO (Reuters) -Japanese retail sales marked an eighth successive month of annual growth in October, data showed on Tuesday, after full reopening of borders added to the boost from this year’s dismantling of internal pandemic control measures.

There was little growth from September, however, as Japanese households were squeezed by inflation running at its fastest pace in 40 years.

Retail sales in October were 4.3% higher than a year earlier, government data showed on Tuesday. The rise was lower than economists’ median forecast of 5.0%.

The indicator, a barometer of private consumption, has been growing since March, when the Japanese government lifted remaining curbs on face-to-face services.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, retail sales gained 0.2% in October from a month earlier. It marked the fourth month of increase but was much smaller than a 1.5% rise in September.

The number of foreign visitors to Japan in October was almost 500,000, more than twice as many as in September. October was the first month in which the country was fully reopened to overseas travellers.

The inflow of inbound visitors has reinforced a hope for Japan’s consumption-led recovery after the economy posted a surprise contraction for July-September. The biggest gains in tourist spending may come later, however, since Japan is still getting few visitors from China, where strict border controls remain in place.

Separate data released on Tuesday showed Japan’s jobless rate had been unchanged at 2.6% in October, despite economists polled by Reuters expectation of an improvement to 2.5%.

The ratio of advertised jobs to applicants, a key gauge of job availability, grew for a tenth successive month, to 1.35, the highest level since March 2020.

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