Japan’s retail recovery seen slowing in November: Reuters poll

FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a protective face mask walks past a sign for a sale at a shopping district in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a protective face mask walks past a sign for a sale at a shopping district in Tokyo, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, Japan August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

December 18, 2020

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s retail sales likely rose at a slower pace in November than the previous month, a Reuters poll found on Friday, as the coronavirus weighed on the recovery in consumer spending.

Retail sales are expected to have risen 1.7% in November from a year earlier, the poll of 14 economists showed, having risen 6.4% in October.

“Sales increases in autos slowed down and sales of clothes and daily necessities didn’t perform well as people refrained from going out after the virus infection further spread,” said Takumi Tsunoda, senior economist at Shinkin Central Bank.

The trade ministry will announce retail sales data at 8:50 a.m. Japan time on Friday, Dec. 25 (2350 GMT Thursday).

Other data next week includes Japan’s jobless rate, which likely stayed at 3.1% in November and the jobs-to-applicants ratio, a gauge of the availability of jobs, was seen at 1.04 for the month, unchanged from October.

The jobless rate is expected to worsen as employment in the service sector remains severe due to the pandemic, analysts said.

The poll found Tokyo’s core consumer price index (CPI), which includes oil products but excludes fresh food prices, likely fell 0.8% in December from a year earlier, after a 0.7% drop in November, weighed by energy price falls.

The government will release Tokyo core CPI and jobs data at 8:30 a.m. Japan time on Friday.

The Bank of Japan on Friday unveiled a plan to probe more effective ways to achieve its 2% inflation target, following the examples of its U.S. and European counterparts as a renewed spike in inflections threatens to derail a fragile recovery.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Sam Holmes)