TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan’s household spending slumped in September from a year earlier, government data showed on Tuesday, falling well short of economists’ expectations and suggesting a slow recovery after an earthquake and typhoons hit consumption.
The surprise 1.6 percent annual decline in household spending in September was the exact opposite of the 1.6 percent annual increase forecast by economists, and follows a 2.8 percent yearly gain in August.
Third-quarter consumer spending in is likely to be weak because the northern island of Hokkaido temporarily lost power in early September due to an earthquake and typhoons flooded important infrastructure in western Japan, economists say.
Businesses have quickly rebounded from the natural disasters, but the weakness in consumer spending raises doubts about the strength of demand.
Spending fell in September due to a 1.8 percent annual decline in outlays on food and a 3.0 percent annual decline in spending on leisure activities such as travel and golf, Tuesday’s government data showed.
On the positive side, spending on clothes rose an annual 0.9 percent.
The government is due to publish July-September gross domestic product (GDP) data on Nov. 14.
Japan’s economy grew an annualized 3.0 percent in the second quarter thanks to a big jump in capital expenditure, but a slowdown in exports expected by some economists and weak consumer spending may weigh on third-quarter GDP.
Reporting by Stanley White; editing by Eric Meijer