Japan sees weaker consumer spending, manufacturing in June


TOKYO (AP) — Japan reported further signs of weakness in its economy in June, with industrial output and consumer spending falling from the year before.

The data released Friday were in line with expectations the central bank may follow the government’s lead in opting for more stimulus at a policy meeting that ends Friday.

Core inflation excluding volatile food prices dropped 0.5 percent from 0.4 percent in May. The Bank of Japan and government have made scant progress toward a 2 percent inflation goal set more than three year ago, partly due to the prolonged slump in crude oil prices.

Household spending fell 2.2 percent from a year earlier, while industrial output slipped 1.9 percent on an annual basis.

Earlier this week Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced plans to propose 28 trillion yen ($267 billion) in spending initiatives to help support the sagging economic recovery.

Household incomes rose 0.3 percent in June, weak for a month when workers commonly receive bonuses.

Unemployment fell to 3.1 percent in June from 3.2 percent for the past several months. But tightness in the job market has not spilled into significant increases in wages that might help spur more consumer demand and encourage businesses to investment in the short of “virtuous cycle” Abe has been promising since he took office in late 2012.

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