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Repeats Story Initially Transmitted at 05:34 GMT Sep 4/01:34 EST Sep 4
--Repeating Story Published at 1406 JST (0506 GMT/0106 ET)
     TOKYO (MNI) - The increase in double-income families has been supporting
consumer spending in recent years but those families are also saving more, a
factor behind continued lackluster spending, a Bank of Japan research paper
released Monday said.
     Tight labor supplies in some sectors and the government's drive to make it
easier for women to join or return to the workforce after child-bearing have
contributed to the rise of double-income households, the BOJ Review said.
Concern about funding for retirement is also a reason, it said.
     Double-income households spend 10% more than single-income households,
particularly on eating out and mobile communications, while disposable income at
double-income families is 20% more than that for single-earner families, the
paper said. 
     This shows double-income families are saving more than necessary, a trend
unchanged at least in the past 17 years, during which time the economy has been
sluggish or recovering only at a modest pace, the paper found. It didn't provide
reasons but the BOJ suspects extra cash earned by the secondary income earner in
each household tends to have a part-time or non-regular job, less secure than
the full-time position the primary earner usually has.
     "The propensity to spend has been falling until recently since peaking in
2013," the BOJ Review said, referring to sluggish private consumption after
April 2013, when the sales tax was raised to the existing 8% from 5%, the first
hike in 17 years. The dampening effect of the tax hike was more serious and
lasted longer than BOJ and government officials had anticipated. 
     Many consumers bought needed durable goods before the tax hike went into
effect and replacement demand for those products has not clearly emerged yet,
leading to generally sluggish consumer spending, the BOJ explained.
     "In addition to durable goods replacement cycles, the increase in
double-income households is believed to have contributed to the recent
development" of weak consumer spending, the paper said.
     The paper didn't discuss other macro-economic factors behind slow spending,
such as the higher share of seniors in the households surveyed by the government
for household spending data. Seniors tend to spend less than consumers of
working age. 
--MNI Tokyo Bureau; tel: +81 90-4670-5309; email: max.sato@marketnews.com

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