Analysts have been waiting for Japanese consumer demand to show some strength. Well, they are still waiting. From Reuters:
Tuesday's data showed that overall household spending in Japan fell 1.9 percent in December from a year earlier, below a median market forecast of a 1.2 percent decline. It was the 12th straight month of year-on-year declines.
Government data also showed that Japan's unemployment rate rose to 4.1 percent in December from 4.0 percent in November.
But on a positive note, industrial production was up in December.
Industrial production rose 0.7 percent in December from a month earlier, higher than a median market forecast of a 0.3 percent rise. The trade ministry said manufacturers' output -- the core component of production -- is expected to fall 2.8 percent in January but to grow 0.1 percent in February.
A report on Monday had shown that retail sales fell 0.2 percent in December.
Importantly for investors, the weak consumer spending figures makes it harder for the Bank of Japan to justify a rate hike even as officials elsewhere worry over the potential impact of an unwinding of the yen carry trade.