Japan Industrial Output Beats Expectations In March, Retail Sales Disappoint

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Japanese industrial production grew more than expected in March, preliminary data showed on Tuesday, indicating some relief in the country’s manufacturing sector after two straight months of declines.

But retail sales grew substantially less than expected, signalling that consumer spending still remained weak despite a pick-up in wages. The reading potentially heralded softer inflation in the coming months.

Industrial production rose 3.8% month-on-month in March, more than expectations for a rise of 3.4% and recovering from the 0.6% drop seen in the prior month. The reading came amid some recovery in car manufacturing, which makes up a bulk of Japan’s industrial output.

Retail sales grew 1.2% year-on-year in March, less than half as much as expectations of 2.5% and slowing substantially from the 4.7% bounce seen in February.

The reading pointed to sluggish consumer spending despite expectations of higher wages, factoring into a middling outlook for inflation in the coming months. Inflation readings for March and April had underwhelmed, casting doubts over the Bank of Japan’s forecasts of sticky inflation, Investing.com reported.

March jobless rate stays flat at 2.6%

Japan’s jobless rate in March was unchanged at 2.6% compared to February, government data showed on Tuesday.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate compared with economists’ median forecast of 2.5%.

The jobs-to-applicants ratio rose to 1.28 in March from 1.26 in February, separate labour ministry data showed. The median forecast was for 1.26. – Reuters

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