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--Japan May Household Spending -3.9% Y/Y; MNI Median -1.8%
--Japan May Household Spending Posts 4th Straight Y/Y Drop
--Japan May S/A Household Spending -0.2% M/M; Apr -1.6%
--Japan May S/A Household Spending Post 4th Straight M/M Drop
--Japan May Per-Household Spending Trend -2.7% Y/Y; Apr -0.8%
--Japan May Total Household Spending Trend +0.3% Y/Y; Apr +0.4%
     TOKYO (MNI) - Japan's real average spending by households with two or more
people posted the fourth straight year-on-year drop in May, down sharply by
3.9%, as shorter Golden Week holidays cut eating out and moderate weather
trimmed electricity use, data released Friday by the Ministry of Internal
Affairs and Communications showed.
     Spending was also down on month amid a continued drop in real income,
indicating sluggish private consumption will lead to only a modest rebound in
the April-June GDP after the economy posted the first contraction in about two
years in January-March.
     The ministry left its assessment on household spending unchanged after
downgrading it for the April data for the first time in two months, saying
"weakness is seen in consumption."
     The key points from the monthly Family Income and Expenditure Survey on
Households.
     * Real average household spending slumped 3.9% on year in May after
adjustment for the gap caused by using two different survey methods, the fourth
straight drop after -1.3% in April. It came in much weaker than the MNI median
economist forecast for a 1.8% drop.
     * The decrease was caused by lower spending on ceremonies and gift money.
It was also due to lower expenditures on eating out as May 5 fell on a Saturday,
making the Golden Week holidays slightly shorter than a year before. Purchases
of fish also declined in light of supply shortages.
     * Average real spending also posted the fourth straight month-on-month drop
in May on a seasonally adjusted basis, down 0.2% after -1.6% in April and -0.1%
in March.
     * The core spending index, which excludes housing, motor vehicles and other
volatile items (close to private consumption patterns in GDP data) fell a
seasonally adjusted real 3.9% on month in May, the second straight m/m drop
after -0.6% in April.
     * The average real income of households with salaried workers fell 0.3% on
year in May after adjustment for the statistical gap, marking the fifth straight
y/y drop after -0.2% in April. Overtime working hours have been falling as firms
and employees are seeking a better work-life balance. Non-regular jobs for
people aged 60 years or older are also increasing, reducing the per-household
income.
     * The Household Consumption Trend Index, indicating per-household spending
patterns, fell a real 2.7% on year in May vs. -0.8% in April, while the Total
Consumption Trend Index, which is designed to show similar consumption patterns
in the total domestic output, rose a real 0.3% on year vs. +0.4% in the previous
month.
--MNI Tokyo Bureau; tel: +81 90-4670-5309; email: max.sato@marketnews.com