Japan Household Spending Increases

Japan’s households opened their wallets a bit wider than expected in May, with household expenditures jumping for the first time in more than a year.

Household expenditures rose 4.8 percent on year in May, topping a Reuters poll forecast for 3.4 percent and marking the first on-year increase since the country increased its consumption tax in April of 2014.

Some took the jump as a clear positive.  “Most people were extremely skeptical on the whole Japanese package. 90 percent of outside observers said there was no way a country in a state of decline for 20 years could turn itself around,” Mark Matthews, head of research for Asia at Julius Baer, said in a phone interview. “These good numbers show there’s some momentum in the economy.”