Households reduced spending for the first time in three months in September due to the effects of natural disasters, leading the government to lower its overall assessment, official data showed Tuesday.
Spending by households with two or more people fell 1.6 percent from a year earlier to ¥271,273, according to data released by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.
The ministry downgraded its overall assessment for the first time in five months, saying spending is “pausing in its recovery.” In August, it said household spending was “beginning to pick up.”
A ministry official who briefed reporters said the decline was largely caused by typhoons, including one that forced the temporary closure of Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture, and a deadly earthquake in Hokkaido.
These disasters pushed up vegetable and other fresh food prices and weakened consumption appetite, he said.
Spending on housing, education and entertainment, including tourism, also fell in September.
“But we see the unfavorable weather as a one-time factor, and the trend (of spending) hasn’t changed significantly,” the official said.
Household spending is a key indicator for private consumption, which accounts for nearly 60 percent of Japan’s gross domestic product.
The average income of salaried households with at least two people after adjusting for inflation fell a real 1.5 percent to ¥447,459.