Japan’s output unexpectedly fell while stronger retail sales and an improving job market showed resilience in the world’s third-biggest economy as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe weighs another sales-tax increase.
Industrial production declined 1.5 percent in August from July, compared with the median estimate of 31 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News for a 0.2 percent gain. Retail sales increased 1.9 percent from the previous month, as the jobless rate slid to 3.5 percent.
The data underscore headwinds for manufacturers as the yen trading near a six-year low fails to boost output, even as domestic demand crawls back after a blow from April’s tax hike. Abe’s government has signaled it is prepared to boost stimulus to help consumers and businesses weather any further increase in the levy next year.