Japan just released a whole bunch of data that wasn't all that bad

Photo: Kevin C. Cox/ Getty Images.

There has been a raft of Japanese economic data released this morning with inflation, unemployment and retail sales topping expectations while household spending fell.

Starting with inflation, there has been some good news, of sorts.

Core consumer price inflation came in flat in the 12-months to July, a figure that was below the 0.1% increase seen in June but ahead of expectations for a decline of 0.2%.

Core inflation in Tokyo, released a month in advance of the national figure, fell 0.1% in the year to August, yet again above expectations for a drop of 0.2%.

Headline inflation rose 0.2% nationally in the 12-months to June, and by 0.1% in the year to August for Tokyo.

Like the performance of CPI, unemployment data for July also topped expectations.

The national unemployment rate fell to 3.3% from 3.4% in June, topping expectations for no change overall, while the jobs-to-applicants ratio – essentially a measure of the number of available jobs compared to applicants – rose to 1.21 from 1.19 in June.

The figure was the highest since February 1992, and indicative of Japan’s tight labour market largely due to ageing demographics.

Elsewhere retail sales rose by 1.6% from a year earlier in July, above both the 0.9% increase of June and expectations for an acceleration to 1.1%.

While those readings beat, there was negative news on the consumption front with household spending undershooting expectations in July.

Spending fell 0.2% compared to a year earlier, an improvement on the 2.0% decline of June but well below forecasts for an increase of 1.3%.

For the month spending rose by 0.6%, below the 2.2% level expected.

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