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Economy

Japan household spending records largest fall in 19 years

Golden Week travel demand and clothing sector hit hardest in April

A person shops at a supermarket in a mall during the COVID-19 outbreak in Chiba on May 28.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan's household spending in April fell 11.1% from a year earlier, declining for the seventh consecutive month, as the coronavirus pandemic kept consumers at home. It is the largest decline since comparable data became available in 2001.

Spending by households with two or more people was 267,922 yen ($2,454), down 6.2% from the previous month, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications showed on Friday.

Among 10 categories, the clothing sector posted the largest drop of 55.4% over the same month from last year, while spending on entertainment and travel slumped 33.9%. Typically, spending on leisure rises from late April due to the Golden Week holiday period in Japan. However, the coronavirus outbreak crimped consumer spending this year.

Meanwhile, spending rose on food items for home consumption and computers as the pandemic forced people to work from home.

Households saw a decline of 10.0% in expenditures, despite a 0.9% rise in the average monthly income.

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