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Economy

Japan's household spending in May rises fastest in 4 years

Extended holiday for new emperor and warm weather boost expenditures

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japanese households increased their spending for the sixth consecutive month in May, boosted by expenditure during the extended holiday to celebrate the new emperor's enthronement, government data showed Friday.

Spending by households with two or more people rose 4.0 percent in real terms from a year earlier to 300,901 yen ($2,790) in the reporting month, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, marking the biggest increase since May 2015.

The ministry upgraded its assessment for the first time since January, saying it is "picking up." It had maintained since the January data release that household spending was showing "signs of recovery."

The unprecedented 10-day holidays through May 6 led to increased spending on leisure and transport, a ministry official said.

Unseasonably high temperatures in late May also prompted people to spend more on beverages and ice cream while boosting sales of summer clothes and air conditioners, the official said.

Household spending is viewed as a key indicator of private consumption, which accounts for nearly 60 percent of Japan's gross domestic product.

After adjusting for inflation, the average monthly income of salaried households with at least two people edged down 0.2 percent from a year earlier to 457,376 yen, falling for the first time in seven months, hit by reduced working hours for part-time employees due to the extended holiday break.

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