© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Customer with Protective Mask Pushes Trolley at Mall of Japanese Aeon Supermarket Group as Mall Reopens Amid Coronavirus Outbreak (COVID-19) in Chibi, Japan, May 28, 2020. REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon
Authors Kantaro Komiya and Yoshifumi Takemoto
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s retail sales grew faster than expected in November, thanks to a reduction in COVID-19 cases, prompting customers to increase spending on goods and services.
To boost support for the economy, the government on Friday approved a record $ 940 billion budget for fiscal 2022, a week after the Bank of Japan decided to keep its ultra-loose monetary policy.
Retail sales rose 1.9 percent in November from a year earlier, government data on Monday showed, compared to economists’ average forecast for growth of 1.7 percent.
This was followed by a 0.9% increase in October, marking the first increase in three months.
Compared to the previous month, retail sales grew by 1.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis in November, following a revised downward growth of 1.0% in October.
The daily number of COVID-19 cases in Japan continued to fall during November to less than one per million people earlier this month.
The government abolished border guards in September and did not reintroduce them, except for strict border controls to stop the spread of the new Omicron variant.
The world’s third-largest economy is expected to recover 6.1% year-on-year in the current quarter from 3.6% in July and September, according to the latest Reuters poll by economists.
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