Japanese Retail Trade Stalls in May on Rising Unemployment

Japanese Retail Trade came to a standstill as expected in May after adding 0.6% in the previous month. In annual terms, receipts shrank at a rate of -2.8% for the second consecutive month, stalling a rebound from a record low at -5.7% recorded in February. The unemployment rate has advanced to the highest in over 5 years, weighing on disposable incomes and trimming spending. More of the same is likely in the months ahead as lackluster global demand keeps output levels low and labor forces lean. Indeed, minutes fromthe last Bank of Japan policy meeting saw policymakers note that consumption is likely to remain weak as the “employment and income situation becomes increasingly severe.”