Japan Sept Household Spending Slumps, COVID19 Pain Lingers

TOKYO, Nov 6 Reuters Japans household spending slumped 10.2 in September from a year earlier, government data showed on Friday, a sign sluggish domestic demand will continue to drag on any recovery for the worlds thirdlargest economy.

The data underscores the challenge policymakers face in balancing the need to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and reviving economic activity.

The drop in household spending compared with a median market forecast for a 10.7 decline and followed a 6.9 fall in August.

Separate data released on Friday showed Japans inflationadjusted real wages fell for the seventh straight month in September, suggesting that sliding household income could further dent consumption.

Japans economy is bottoming out after suffering its worst postwar slump in AprilJune, thanks in part to a rebound in exports and output. But weak consumption and capital spending is likely to keep any economic recovery modest, analysts say.

The Bank of Japan trimmed its economic growth forecast for the year ended in March 2021 and warned that consumption may remain weak for some time, particularly for services hit by social distancing policies to contain the pandemic.

With the BOJ left with little policy ammunition to jumpstart growth, the onus is on the government to deploy more fiscal stimulus to cushion the blow from the pandemic, they say.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is expected to announce this month a plan for fresh stimulus to help the recessionstricken…

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