business

Japan retail sales rise for 6th straight month in sign of recovery

21 Comments
By Tetsushi Kajimoto

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21 Comments
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Compared with the previous month, seasonally-adjusted retail sales fell 0.3% in December, the METI data showed.

Retail sells down 0.3% in December speak a lot, should be UP due to year-end / new year celebrations.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I really doubt this. I and most people I know have cut small luxuries due to higher prices. By small luxuries I mean a little extra on the dinner table.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

In November we got the news that retail sales had been bad, and had fallen for three strsight months, and now today we hear that sale have increased for six straight months? November was only three months ago, unless the same ministry which plans the economy is now making calenders, and applying the same math.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

This may not be very indicative of rest of Japan but most of the shopping im seeing done in Ginza are by Mainland Chinese vistors.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Obvious from some14some and sangetsu03's comments above that they do not understand what year-on-year means.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

If the number of families, which purchase big items, keeps declining and youth are less interested in automobiles, as research shows, how can demand be sustained? Also, will the drop in the price of oil be reflected in lower energy and food bills? In Japan it seems that cost savings are rarely passed on to consumers.

Also, looking at aggregate demand does show us if the demand is broad-based or just among the super-rich buying luxury items, which only benefits a limited segment of businesses and increases the income and wealth gaps.

Finally, considering all the money the BOJ has pumped into the market with its supply-side giveaway policy, 0.2% year-on-year sales growth should be taken as a sign of failure if the goal was to improve economic conditions for most people. But since the aim of trickle-down is to further enrich the wealthy, it probably matters little what this number is.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

In contrast to the Reuters headline, the Bloomberg headline is "Retail sales unexpectedly slump, in challenge to ‘Abenomics’"

I guess people can read the figures how they like.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"I guess people can read the figures how they like."

No. One set of stats is year to year, another for month to month. One needs to recognize the difference in order to interpret articles like this.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The situation in Europe could have a negative effect to global demand and exports. The Euro is tumbling through the floor reflecting dismal prospects for any hope of a recovery. Japan economy must brace for the fallout It is not going to be pretty.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Falling 0.3% during the "busy" sales season is not a good sign. Let's face it - the average household has less money to work with since the tax increase. Japan is a trickle down economy and the old farts at the top are never going to pass on the savings.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Obvious from some14some and sangetsu03's comments above that they do not understand what year-on-year means.

The headline does not say "year on year", does it? It says sales have increased "for the sixth straight month". Right?

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

BOJ has pumped into the market with its supply-side giveaway policy

That isn't a supply-side policy.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The price of those wonderful big crab legs really dropped. I bought a bunch. Yummy in my Tummy. But skimping on other stuff like everyone else. I do not believe sales were up.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"The headline does not say "year on year", does it? It says sales have increased "for the sixth straight month". Right?"

It seems you're not so familiar with the reporting of economic data. Most stats like these are year on year, by default, and so aren't specified in the headline or lead. However, the measurement standard should be mentioned at least once, which it is

"Year-on-year growth in retail sales eased...".

I know this, because I used to write such items for a living for a news service. Year on year tends to show more substantial trends than month to month.

Any more questions? Ask the doc!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Obvious from some14some and sangetsu03's comments above that they do not understand what year-on-year means.

my "one-liner" comment needs better attention, it is supported by quote from the article itself.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@fxgai

That isn't a supply-side policy.

QE can be considered a suppy-side approach as the objective is to increase the amount of lendable reserves in the banking system that can then be borrowed and used by existing firms and start-ups to invest in capital and produce (supply) goods and services.

Why not provide an explanation for your different point of view?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

warispeace,

In Japan's case, there is no lack of funds. As we always hear about from QE-backers, there are evil corporations with loads of cash (and it's all their fault for not spending their own money as the central-planners would prefer).

The reason they hold loads of cash is because of a lack of attractive investment opportunities, and thus QE misses the point. What Japan needs is true supply-side policies - like less ridiculous regulation to protect the vested interests - making investment opportunities more attractive.

QE's side-effect of devaluing the currency has been it's main success.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Not suprising, everyone in Japan who has a real job that contributes to society and requires marketable skills recieves large year end bonuses.

This years bonuses were sky high due to increased exports, the extra yen in consumers pockets seems to be leaking onto the high street.

Sorry guys and gals but headlines like this are going to become more frequent in 2015.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

"The reason they hold loads of cash is because of a lack of attractive investment opportunities"

Errr, right. The fact that corporate profit margins are near record highs has nothing to do with their ability to collect more cash than they know what to with?

And if you can reconcile record-high corporate profitability with a "lack of attractive investment opportunities," then I'd like to know what kind of narcotics you're smoking.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The fact that corporate profit margins are near record highs

You are cherry picking the large exporters who have been able to enjoy boosted profits in yen terms due to the depreciation of the currency, I presume.

has nothing to do with their ability to collect more cash than they know what to with?

Having more cash than they know what to do with is MY point. Hence they don't need to borrow money, hence your beloved QE is useless in this respect, it is only through competitive devaluation of the currency that there is any "win".

And if you can reconcile record-high corporate profitability with a "lack of attractive investment opportunities," then I'd like to know what kind of narcotics you're smoking.

You're really testing me, Mr love-yourself. Improving the profitability of existing businesses is one matter, starting up a new venture in the face of a myriad of ridiculous regulations is another.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

“Year-on-year growth in retail sales eased due to effects such as falling oil prices and pre-sales-tax buying rush a year ago.

Japan's performance.

Yet consumers signaled their optimism by spending at the fastest rate in nearly nine years

U.S. performance.

Enough said.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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