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Japan retail sales cause concern

Japan retail sales in August rose 0.8 per cent according to official data released on Wednesday.

That was a full 0.4 per cent – or one third – below market expectations, fuelling concerns about the state of the nation’s fragile economy.

The figure from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry followed a healthier 1.8 per cent increase in July.

Once seasonally adjusted, retail sales were flat in August – worse than the anticipated 0.5 per cent increase, and well down on the 1.4 per cent rise of July.

‘Large retailers’ reported sales were up 1.8 per cent year on year, near the 2.1 per cent of July and ahead of the forecast 1.3 per cent.

The only bright news on Japan’s retail sales front in recent month has been the increased spending by Mainland Chinese tourists, opting to take vacations there or Europe instead of their more traditional destination, Hong Kong.

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