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Japanese economic activity bumps up ahead of sales-tax hike

  • Japanese industrial production grew at the fastest pace since June 2011 in January, jumping 4% on month after a drop of 0.9% in December and surpassing consensus of +3%. Soaring production of transport equipment and machinery helped to boost output
  • Construction orders surged 15.2% on year vs +4.9% previously.
  • Retail sales leapt 4.4% vs +2.5% in December and expectations of +3.8%. On month, sales +1.4% vs -1.2% previously.
  • Overall household spending +1.1% vs +0.7% prior and forecasts of +0.2%.
  • The strong figures are not a total surprise, as a bump in economic activity has been expected ahead of a rise in sales tax in April, which is forecast to then drag on the economy.
  • Meanwhile, core inflation, which excludes food prices, held steady at 1.3% on year in January, above consensus of 1.2%.
  • Core core CPI, which excludes food and energy, stayed at a 16-year peak of 0.7%.
  • Overall inflation slipped to 1.4% from 1.6% in December.
  • The unemployment rate stayed at 3.7%, as expected, although the number of open positions increased to 1.04 for every person seeking work, the most since August 2007.
  • The Nikkei falls 0.55%, while the USD-JPY is -0.4% at ¥101.70.
  • ETFs: DXJ, EWJ, FXY, YCS, DFJ, JYN, DBJP, NKY, EZJ, EWV, YCL, SCJ, DXJS, JSC, ITF, JPP, JPNL, JPNS, FJP
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