A slew of data from Japan on Friday suggested a strong start to the year for Asia’s second-biggest economy, although economists sounded a note of caution saying consumers are ramping up spending before a sales-tax hike kicks in this April.
Japan’s retail sales rose 4.4 percent in January from a year earlier, above analyst expectations for a 3.8 percent rise and marking a sixth straight month of gains.
Household spending meanwhile rose 1.1 percent in January on-year, well above expectations for a 0.2 percent gain, while industrial output rose 4 percent from a month earlier, also beating forecasts.
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